Is the cap on welfare - well, fair?

(81 Posts)
Notsoyummymummy1 Mon 15-Jul-13 20:28:41

A £500 a week cap on the total number of benefits that households can received (not including disability benefits) is being rolled out today across the UK. The cap applies to parents and single parents whereas single childless people get just £350 a week. So basically you're better off living separately from your partner rather than living together! It's supposed to be motivating people to get back to work but it still doesn't deal with the problem of the lack of jobs, the cost of childcare and the fact that £500 goes a lot further in some places than others. It just seems to imply that most people are on benefits as a lifestyle choice when it's not the case - people are usually on benefits as a last resort and lots of families are going to seriously struggle now.

CharlieAlphaKiloEcho Mon 15-Jul-13 20:36:58

IMO it is not fair in every case no.

We are living in temporary housing after being made homeless last year and the rent here is classed as emergency rent and over 3x the normal rent of my LA.

I had no choice about living here (very grateful don't get me wrong) and have no chance of moving to a cheaper place either.

We are over the cap and the next couple of years are going to very very very tight for us. I am starting a job in september so it won't apply to me anymore but the very high rent is still going to cripple my minimum wage packet each month sad

The problem with the cap is that it doesn't allow for differing from the norm that they are apparently basing this on.

caroldecker Mon 15-Jul-13 21:03:21

£500 a week is equivalent to earning £35k a year pre tax - vast numbers of people live on this.

here shows that a couple with 2 kids on this income is in the middle income band (over a third of households are poorer)

pointythings Mon 15-Jul-13 21:46:19

I feel there should be a differential related to cost of living - i.e. the cap should be set higher in very expensive areas like London.

I also think something should be done about the private rental sector, it is at the root of so many problems in the UK.

Notsoyummymummy1 Mon 15-Jul-13 22:02:34

Yes but Caroldecker it's fundamentally unfair when housing and rental costs vary so widely across the country. £2000 PCM wouldn't cover your rent in London!

Meglet Mon 15-Jul-13 22:08:08

Probably not. But the Tories don't care about being fair, unless its to their banker mates.

TabithaStephens Mon 15-Jul-13 22:08:27

Yes it is fair.

caroldecker Mon 15-Jul-13 22:22:07

notsoyummy well move out of London - my partner and I both work and cannot afford London, so why should I pay for someone else to?

You cut your cloth to suit your means.

pointythings Mon 15-Jul-13 22:22:52

I also think it would be better if we had a living wage instead of a minimum wage - the benefit cap does nothing to address the fact that some people work full time and still need benefits from the state to make ends meet. It's mad.

The benefit cap as it is being implemented now is a political tactic to set people against each other. If it had been handled fairly and in conjunction with measures to make work really pay - such as addressing the cost of housing and childcare - it would be a different matter.

RonaldMcDonald Mon 15-Jul-13 22:31:15

it's all a smoke screen

most people don't get anything near that in benefits
good job Tories

purits Mon 15-Jul-13 22:32:00

London is sucking the lifeblood out of the rest of the country. I strongly object to my money being used to subsidise and perpetuate this system. I would be very pleased if more people thought that London was unaffordable and moved out. No way should there be a 'special case' for London rents.

lottieandmia Mon 15-Jul-13 22:35:31

The problem is that in the areas where this has been piloted there is zero evidence that more people are getting into if they are affected by the cap. So it's not doing anything except punishing some people and their children.

lottieandmia Mon 15-Jul-13 22:35:54

getting into work*

purits Mon 15-Jul-13 22:43:22

It's not only about getting people into work. If tenants know that they won't get an expensive rent covered in full then they won't take on that tenancy. Multiply that effect several times over and rents will have to drop, which means that house prices will drop. Everyone will end up with cheaper housing.
Which is what I thought everyone wanted.

RonaldMcDonald Mon 15-Jul-13 22:58:16

I'm unsure about the cap driving rents down
Where I live there is a huge amount of competition for rented property.
Rental prices have continued to rise year on year

It isn't people on benefits that are renting the majority of this housing, as there has always been a local housing amount agreed by the housing benefit office which always fell far short of the rent charged for decent areas or properties.

I think it will just make everything even more us and them iyswim

kilmuir Mon 15-Jul-13 23:02:42

plenty of money, if not enough to pay rent then find somewhere where it does

NiceTabard Mon 15-Jul-13 23:17:41

No it's not fair.
The answer to making work pay is to make work pay a living wage. Not cut benefits.
The cost of this will be much more in even the short term let alone the middle and long than paying the benefits.
Placing homeless families in B&B is more expensive than having a more permanent home. People will have to move away from eg family who they are helping (elderly relatives & neighbours etc) and working in the community. All that will be lost + support networks for people will be gone leading to problems. Children will be moved from schools poss to far away from eg GPs and other parents, friends and so on which may well not do much for them esp. if in poverty and being moved to less permanent accommodation without cooking facilites etc. Cost of moving presumably means people will have to leave lots of stuff behind? Not sure what happens with that. And of course housing is cheaper in places with high unemployment what is the point of moving unemployed people & their children to places with even less chance of getting a job?

Whole thing sucks.

I believe that society should be mixed, rich & poor, different religions colours politics all of it so that people know people who are not in the same boat and thus segregation and the eventual awful outcomes of "them & us" attitudes are avoided.

It's a nice headline but I think so many people will be excepted that it will be essentially meaningless.

You will still get the DM headline families whose benefit income is like a stockbroker's (because six of their children have disabilities) and people will still be starving.

Chippychop Mon 15-Jul-13 23:33:11

I do think £500 is a lot in bens and feel for the working families on less that. If I was on benefits in London yes I may consider moving out to a cheaper part of the country but if everyone did that who is going to do the low paid shitty jobs the rest of us don't want to do?!! They should not have sold off the council housing - all it's done is to make create a social
Housing problem.

edam Tue 16-Jul-13 00:02:42

There's a lot of spin around this, used to distract everyone from the truth.

One important aspect: out-of-work benefits are a tiny proportion of the overall benefits bill. Most of it goes to pensioners, and much of the rest to people who are in work but on poverty wages that don't cover essential outgoings, like keeping a roof over your head.

Another key point: the 'savings' generated by this scheme will be minimal in terms of the overall welfare bill. And largely illusory, as the costs will just crop up elsewhere in the system - it's far more expensive for councils to dump families in B&Bs than to pay housing benefit, to take just one tiny element of this mess. This policy won't benefit taxpayers in any way at all - it will very probably end up costing more.

Another important fact: the cap applies to households, the 'average earnings' figure the government is fond of quoting applies to individuals. They aren't comparing like with like - they are twisting the facts. (And people in work on low wages who have families are entitled to in-work benefits such as tax credits, so the total household income comparison is flawed in another direction as well.)

Another fact - there is a severe shortage of social housing and affordable housing, while rents are at record levels. This is not the fault of people who just want somewhere to live, and I'm not sure why they are being punished for the dysfunctional housing market and the failures of politicians. Well, I can guess, but I don't know why anyone who isn't a member of this government is prepared to fall for it.

I'm lucky I've got a mortgage and have had one for donkey's years - I couldn't afford to rent. I really feel for people who are stuck in expensive rented accommodation.

edam Tue 16-Jul-13 00:05:13

Oh, and moving to a cheaper part of the country sounds very sensible, until you realise that if lots of people move, prices will go up. And they will struggle to find jobs. Great idea, moving people out of work into areas of high unemployment!

TheSecondComing Tue 16-Jul-13 00:15:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

longfingernails Tue 16-Jul-13 00:22:51

It's certainly not fair. Cameron's liberal guilt - his fervent desire to appear likeable to the Toynbee and Huttons of the world - is no doubt responsible for the astronomically high level of the benefits cap.

Instead of trying to convert Islington luvvies, he should instead adopt a firmly working-class Tory agenda, focussing only on the swing voters in the swing constituencies who will decide 2015. He should certainly stop trying to court the BBC/Guardian/Mumsnet and other bien-pensant types.

Also, why is the attack on Labour so muted? Labour should be painted as the welfare party at every turn. They voted against even this ginormous cap; they should be derided for it loudly and often.

It's certainly worth voting UKIP in non-general elections, just to force Cameron's hand.

BMW6 Tue 16-Jul-13 00:23:25

Of course it is fair. No-one should be better off on benefit than working.

TheSecondComing Tue 16-Jul-13 00:25:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

timidviper Tue 16-Jul-13 00:36:42

I am really conflicted about this.

I don't want to punish those on benefits but think that no-one should be better off on benefits than working, no-one should be able to use benefits to live in an area that working people cannot afford and no-one should be funded by benefits to have more children than a working family can afford but I'm not sure it has been well thought through and am concerned that it will cause chaos

TheSecondComing Tue 16-Jul-13 00:41:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

caroldecker Tue 16-Jul-13 00:44:21

People who disagree with this policy, what would you do instead to enorage people to work?
BTW money saving is not the aim, it is the principle that not working is less lucrative than working.

RonaldMcDonald Tue 16-Jul-13 00:46:24

If you and your family live in a rented house, in the S or S E, and you become too ill to work there is now a real chance that you will also have to move house

The same will happen if you lose your job, partner etc.

We keep forgetting that these benefits are things that we ourselves might one day need

Yes, it's fair. As working parents, we've had to move to different parts of the country, away from family and friends, twice in our children's school years for work reasons. If we hadn't moved, we wouldn't have been able to afford to live where we did. Why should it be different for benefit claimants?

TheSecondComing Tue 16-Jul-13 00:47:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TabithaStephens Tue 16-Jul-13 01:06:54

Regardless of whether there is jobs for everyone, £500 a week is enough for any family to live on.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 16-Jul-13 07:38:34

"So basically you're better off living separately from your partner rather than living together! "

That's not true. The income may be better but the separate couple would be financing two homes, two utility bills, two sets of council tax etc.

The changes are overdue and the cap doesn't apply to those on Working Tax Credits or disability payments.

Pantone363 Tue 16-Jul-13 07:57:18

There are some aspects I don't understand. A working family earning £26000 a year would also be claiming benefits, CB, CTC wouldn't they? So their income wouldn't be £26000.

I don't think that non working families have ever been better off than working families. And where are all these jobs going to come from? The cap does nothing to deal with the scourge of high rents, zero hours contracts or child care.

It's a very good sound bite though.

ihearsounds Tue 16-Jul-13 08:04:53

I am torn.
I do feel for families on benefits. Well, the true claimants. It's the actual people I know on benefits who I don't feel sorry for, because i know that they are career claimants. They have never worked since leaving school and now range from 30's to 60's.

I don't think that you should get more for not working than working. Not fair really. Why is it the law for benefits says you need a minimum of XX to live on, but working well tough really.

But maybe I am jealous. Who knows. We have less than 26k a year combined, but living in London we still manage to survive. So I also think that the London argument is flawed.

BelleDameSansMerci Tue 16-Jul-13 08:15:26

I'm not torn at all. It's wrong. It's penalising huge numbers of people for little gain.

Everything edam said up-thread basically.

And, fwiw, it doesn't impact me at all. I am daily astonished at the lack of compassion currently being peddled as political/economic necessity and the people buying into it.

Luckily, despite the fact that I am on benefits, this doesn't apply to me. We get below the new cap anyway and manage, but then it's just me, DP and DS and I am generally very frugal - people with larger families would definitely struggle with just £500.

It's a stupid, divisive policy. But what else can you expect from our current government?

ParsingFancy Tue 16-Jul-13 08:55:52

Meanwhile, house prices, which are a huge part of the problem, are going up again.

Why? Because Osborne has decided to underwrite them out of taxes with Help To Buy.


ParsingFancy Tue 16-Jul-13 09:01:32

Cogito, it's not true that the cap doesn't apply to people receiving disability payments.

ESA (formerly Incapacity Benefit), for people who cannot work due to illness and disability, is included in the cap.

People receiving Disability Living Allowance for personal care or mobility are exempt, but the majority of people on ESA don't get this. Further, the number getting DLA it is about to be cut - probably by at least 20%.

DontmindifIdo Tue 16-Jul-13 09:16:21

cogito - I was going to raise that, just because two people living apart would have more income coming in, most of their costs would be doubled so it wouldn't be cheaper.

The 'London is expensive' has several flaws, including that we are in the group of many who've moved out to afford the space we want for our family and commute in. There was little complaint over the last 20 years when vast numbers of middle class people found themselves priced out of London so moved and commuted, it's hard to expect those people to feel that poorer people have to be helped to do what they couldn't, stay in London in communities they know when they have DCs and need space.

All benefits need to be seen as reasonable by the people paying them. Most people are happy to pay for a safety net for those in need, but having benefits at a level that is massively above the average wage doesn't look like a safety net anymore, more an alternative lifestyle at someone else's expense. It doesn't matter that most people don't recieve anything like that much, it matters that some people do, that undermines public support for benefits altogether.

DontmindifIdo Tue 16-Jul-13 09:19:13

Galaxy - I think the thinking is that while it'll hurt in the short term, long term, people on lower incomes who need help from benefits won't have larger families, or at least will do on the understanding that once they hit the cap, benefits won't increase with extra children.

twofingerstoGideon Tue 16-Jul-13 09:52:16

I suppose I'm what you'd call 'working poor'. Cutting people's benefit* isn't going to make me, or others like me, any better off financially, is it? Iain Duncan-Smith's rhetoric about 'fairness' is pushing the notion that people in relatively low-paid work will somehow benefit from these measures. The government's real aim is to pit low paid workers against the unemployed. Well I for one am not falling for that bullshit.

*And how many people on benefits actually get anything like 50K?

I agree with NiceTabard and Edam.

It has often been true that you can be better off out of work than in it, depending on your circumstances. For example, as soon as you have any children then childcare costs are a factor. Even with tax credits and other help, many people find that the costs of childcare and transport to work equal or exceed their earnings.

And if by working you lose your entitlement to full housing benefit then you will certainly why you're bothering working 35h/w and seeing very little of your children for the same net income as if you weren't working at all.

Say two children, one of whom is at school. Use same childminder for both, 8-6 to allow for bus ride to and from work and a standard 8h working day. In termtime even modest childcare costs are likely to be £50 a day; in the holidays more like £70. You have to be earning a reasonable (not NMW) hourly rate before your net earnings for the day are more than £0.

twofingerstoGideon Tue 16-Jul-13 09:58:00

People who disagree with this policy, what would you do instead to enorage people to work?
Provide secure, long term jobs at a living wage.

twofingers do please elaborate. What jobs? State jobs? Private jobs? Financed how? Massive job shortage at the moment.

twofingerstoGideon Tue 16-Jul-13 10:15:41

I'm aware there's a massive job shortage. I was intending to point out the flaw in people talking about 'encouraging' claimants to work (eg caroldecker above).
If there aren't enough jobs, why are we punishing people who don't have one?

siezethenight Tue 16-Jul-13 10:30:30

caroldecker What to do instead of this?
You STOP cutting people's benefits off when they want to go back to college and/or on a re-training course. That is what currently happens - if you are on benefits and want to retrain you loose all your living benefits as in, income support, carers allowance and so forth - sure, you get your housing benefit still but you can't actually eat the letters they sent to say you are entitled to housing benefit. You can't pay your bills on child benefit.
There are swathes of people, single parents and unemployed alike who need to re-train, go back to college, if they ever stand a hope of being employable in any job that is going to pay enough to get them out of a benefit trap. You also fund at home study for the single parents with children who are little and not yet in full time school/.
Then you sit back and watch those that take this offer up and those that do not - then you have got your line of people who want to work and get on and those who want to live on benefits and do nothing - then you can go tackle the latter accordingly.
You do not punish everybody for the sins of a few imo - most single parents and unemployed WANT work, they want to help themselves.
This is a ridiculous idea - as there are no jobs out there really at the moment, then train people to be able to do jobs as and when the economy picks up again.

DialsMavis Tue 16-Jul-13 13:32:01

How would the whole "if you can't afford it, move out of London" thing work though? If DP and I lost our jobs tomorrow I don't think £500 pw would cover our rent and basic bills. Should we immediately up sticks and move straight out of London? Taking our DC out of school and moving them without having a chance to find other jobs here first? DP is only qualified to do his job and it is very London based. We would also break the terms of our tenancy agreement so lose a big chunk of our deposit. What if we would have found jobs a few weeks later? Surely better than being long term unemployed and living off benefits in another part of the country. It's really not that simple is it?

Sunrising33 Tue 16-Jul-13 13:32:50

I'm often amazed as to how Land Lords have got away without any comeback after all a vast amount of government money goes into private accomodation, and often ,very often well above market rates. This is largely what gives the crazy London benefit figures we hear about.

Annex the payment made to Land Lords and reduce it whilst giving people the amount they at least need to survive. No reduction in the allowances for the individual.

Build new Local Authority housing!. If we can consider spending Billions on a Rich Boys Train set (HS2) we can afford to provide for our people.

Perhaps if the house prices start coming down people might feel they can get out there, work hard and get some roots down. That's an incentive.

ihategeorgeosborne Tue 16-Jul-13 14:29:04

Oh well, everyone seems to rave on about house prices rising being a good thing. Every article I've read this week implies that we are in recovery as house prices are soaring. This is the result of high house prices. People can't afford to live. I don't see anything good about it myself, but I do seem to be in the minority confused

niceguy2 Tue 16-Jul-13 14:48:57

Fair to whom?

Fair to the person who has just had their benefits cut? Probably not.

Fair to the taxpayer who is expected to pay ever more taxes so others can live a lifestyle they otherwise couldn't afford? No.

The idea that it's better for people to live apart than together is hardly new. It's been around for years. Ten years ago when I moved in with my GF who had 2 kids, we were financially much worse off. I've a few friends who have also been in the same boat and one now who will lose out massively if she moves in with her boyfriend. It's not only those affected by the cap who face that poor choice.

Darkesteyes Tue 16-Jul-13 17:21:43

Somebody on page 1 said that Labour is the welfare party BULLSHIT they are red Tories.
When it was ruled that Cait Reilly and co had been unlawfully sanctioned the Gov. changed the rules retrospectively so they wouldnt have to pay out what had been wrongfully sanctioned.
Labour ABSTAINED on the vote.
Ive also heard Liam Byrne bang on about how workfare is a good thing. They seem to love the idea of Tesco getting free workers too.

The welfare party? I think not!

BMW6 Tue 16-Jul-13 18:58:23

Yes of course - working peoples pay isn't based on what rent they pay and how large their family is!!

JakeBullet Tue 16-Jul-13 19:07:01

I'd like to know how many families are actually affected by this. I am on benefits as DS is autistic and yet even with the disability top up am getting nowhere near £500 a week....even when you take housing benefit into account.

I see it being much more of aan issue in areas where housing is expensive and a family is large. Too bad presumably if they had the children while in work.

Social housing is needed, much more of it.

ParsingFancy Tue 16-Jul-13 19:16:21

"Yes of course - working peoples pay isn't based on what rent they pay and how large their family is!!"

Their income is.

It's based on their pay, their rent and how large their family is.

But policy is not about being fair or just - I just don't believe that there is any way to financially incentivise a type of lifestyle.

I must admit that I do struggle with whole concept of giving money over as it is tricky to define the amount, the parameters of the need.

Now if the same time spent on benefits would be spent making sure that families had a more equitable taxation system, the utility companies and transport companies were brought in to line to stop above inflation increases it would put benefits in perspective

olgaga Thu 18-Jul-13 13:44:52

This is going to affect 40,000 out of almost 25 million households in Britain. The average loss to those affected households will be £93 per week.

20,000 of those households are in London, most of the rest are presumably in the South East or commuter areas with good transport links to London.

So the overall effect will be quite small, but on an individual basis it will be extremely harsh. The purpose is not to get people into work, or even to make any significant savings in the welfare budget.

The purpose is to send a message to working voters that the Tories are getting tough on "welfare dependency" - ie "shirkers and scroungers".

The real message is "Don't expect to have as many children as you like, and live where you choose, if you don't expect to pay for it yourself".

The Tories have a special hatred for the "undeserving" poor who have the temerity to think they can live a normal life.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Jul-13 14:57:04

"Don't expect to have as many children as you like, and live where you choose, if you don't expect to pay for it yourself"

In other words, the same respectable 'cut your cloth' values that working class people have adhered to for years. Not hatred of anyone but support for responsible behaviour. That's why it's so popular.

noddyholder Thu 18-Jul-13 16:20:09

Why don't people want to move according to their income? When we outgrew our flat in London and realised we couldn't afford to move within it once ds arrived we moved out to where we could afford to live. Thats what people do.

Bowlersarm Thu 18-Jul-13 16:25:11

"Don't expect to have as many children as you like, and live where you choose, if you don't expect to pay for it yourself"


What is so unreasonable about that?

niceguy2 Thu 18-Jul-13 16:25:15

The welfare cap is overwhelmingly supported not just by Tory voters but by voters in general.

I don't believe this is about sending a message that the Tories hate the poor. But more a realisation that even the state does not have a money tree and the old fantasies of taxing the rich until their pips squeak and give to the poor also no longer work in the global world we now live in.

Cutting your cloth is fine, and ideally nobody would have children they can't afford.

But setting caps ignores salient facts such as (1) circumstances change and (2) sometimes the long-term cheaper option costs more in the short term, and vice versa.

Family with two incomes has three children. Redundancies occur.

Family realises it is priced out of an area, so wants to move. But the new deposit, man&van hire, etc are too much for their budget at the moment either.

Oversimplifying for effect, but hope I've made sense. Hardly anyone deliberately lives beyond his/her means; it's almost always the incremental product of circumstances.

EeTraceyluv Thu 18-Jul-13 16:30:49

Apparently we are 'squeezed middle, we have a mortgage and jobs and live in a city which is equally as expensive as London. London is not a special case. It has been suggested that people who live here be moved away too, making the city 'gentrified'. Sadly, for us, that is a good thing as house prices will carry on rising, but for others it really isn't sad

lottieandmia Thu 18-Jul-13 16:47:35

niceguy - If the state doesn't have a money tree then why are they going to build a railway network that we don't actually need? As my understanding is that out of work benefits account for only 10% of spending on welfare.

niceguy2 Thu 18-Jul-13 18:08:24

Lottie, if you are referring to HS2 then i'm going to disagree with you. I think we do need a high speed rail link.

What I'm not so sure about is if it is worth the money, nor am I convinced the government will pull it off given they rarely do.

However, the need is clearly there. It's like arguing we didn't NEED the M25. Of course we didn't NEED it but the advantages of having it are massive.

JSA is only a small portion of the welfare budget, I agree. But then that's not the only benefit paid is it? Housing benefit, free school dinners, council tax, tax credits. It all mounts up.

I do think the government and press have spun the 'fraud' angle more than they should but that's hardly a surprise for MP's. That's why I would love the personal tax statements to be published so people can easily see for themselves what proportions they pay for what service.

That way we can hopefully talk about the elephant in the room, namely pensions are literally crippling the welfare budget and it's going to get worse with time. So to me that's what we should be focussing on. Nipping & tucking a little here & there is all very well but not if you are ignoring the proverbial elephant.

lottieandmia Thu 18-Jul-13 20:21:34

But the elderly need protecting because they can't work, much like disabled people - so it's no wonder it's the elephant in the room.

WRT the rail link I agree to an extent and see what you're saying but there is not 'no money' then is there? The Tories want to cut the welfare state because it's their brand of politics, not specifically because there is literally no money.

The reason tax credits and housing benefit are needed by so many people is because low paid jobs don't provide enough money to run a home - perhaps employers pay less and expect the government to top up people's wages?

olgaga Thu 18-Jul-13 23:17:34

It's not about the welfare budget, or silly perceptions that the poor pluck the fruit of our labour from a mythical "money tree". This will save a piffling amount in terms of the overall welfare budget.

As for those saying "We had to move, blah blah" yes I know all about moving. We're on our third move from London 15 years ago. But on each occasion we moved for a better life than we had before. We made money on 2 out of three moves, realising capital growth on property we owned.We chose the houses and the particular areas we moved to. We had the money to pay for removals to bring all our belongings with us rather than leave what we had behind and start again from scratch with absolutely nothing.

Which is no doubt what most people do when they "have to move". It's not remotely comparable to the difficulties faced by those who have no money and no choice.

olgaga Thu 18-Jul-13 23:36:03

And I'd like to add that lottie makes a good point. Instead of moaning about "scroungers" and patting ourselves on the back for being so "independent" of the welfare state, we should be asking why it is that the taxpayer has to support so many welfare claimants who are actually working.

Who are we subsiding? It seems to me that it's the employers who pay no more than minimum wage on zeto-hours contracts who get the most out of the welfare state.

The welfare state enables employers to pay the bare minimum to their employees, thanks to the generosity of the taxpayer who pays to top up their emoyees' income to a bare living wage.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 19-Jul-13 05:55:40

"We had the money to pay for removals to bring all our belongings with us rather than leave what we had behind and start again from scratch with absolutely nothing."

Last person I knew who 'had to move' (couldn't keep up with the mortgage payments and went back to renting - nothing to do with welfare cuts) rang round a few mates, including one with a van and we helped shift everything for them. 'Starting from scratch' is over-emotive.

niceguy2 Fri 19-Jul-13 08:42:08

But the elderly need protecting because they can't work,

Of course we need to look after our elderly. But we can only do so with the money we have. If we don't have it, we can't spend it. And therein lies the problem.

We have a retirement age set decades ago when life expectancy was a lot lower. Many pensioners enjoy a generous final salary pension which is great for them but then when the state is in dire straits, if cuts need to be made then maybe we should start looking at means testing pensions??

As people are living longer the pension timebomb will just get worse. Ignoring this and focusing on back to work benefits is wrong in my opinion.

RonaldMcDonald Fri 19-Jul-13 08:52:42

Perhaps families being forced to move out of areas in London and SE will be a good thing for the rest of the country

Maybe it will start to spread the concentration of provision around the UK a little?

I've moved on a number of occasions (between countries) including with the children and luckily for me it has been fine. Worse or impossible however if you rely on familial childcare or are a carer for family members etc

I am finding it hard to become very interested in the subject as I am unsure that the cap actually affects that many claimants

In general I am interested in the judging and bashing and smug blaming that I see surrounding benefits at the moment
It feels horrible and at best very short sighted

RonaldMcDonald Fri 19-Jul-13 08:55:02

niceguy I agree

I also know that most people are unaware that the welfare budget includes pensions. The Tories will not touch pensions as it will end their voting base.

I'm one of the majority who support the principle of the cap. However I intensely dislike the benefit bashing, scroungers, lazy welfare lifestyle argument of the government and media.

But as a philosophy, I agree that a non-working family should not get more money than the average working family. This only applies to non-working families, at least the majority of which are in London (depending on your definition of London) and I'm guessing a significant majority is in the South East.

I don't buy the argument that it is hard to find work in these areas. Yes, the cost of living is high, but if you are in work, the cap does not apply.

For example, if I was a single parent of three kids, all I need to do is work 16 hours a week. I would still be eligible for the full range of benefits, so I think it's reasonable that I'm expected to work.

I also don't get this argument about childcare; if you're not working, by definition you don't need childcare.

I agree with other posters though that it doesn't deal with the issue that the minimum wage is to a living wage and we are topping up incomes, so that companies can increase their profits.

ParsingFancy Fri 19-Jul-13 10:37:15

But the principle falls over immediately because it's done per group, not per individual.

The £26K is the average wage. For one person.

The cap is for a household, which could easily be 6 people including multiple generations and people with disabilities (only a few of whom are exempt from the cap).

In fact the more overcrowded a family is, and the more mild-to-moderate disabilities it's coping with, the more likely it is to be hit by the cap.

sonlypuppyfat Fri 19-Jul-13 10:38:44

Perhaps it is unfair on people in London but if your not working go and find work elsewear. We are a single wage family a very low wage but we have a friend who hasn't worked for 15 years has had at least 6 kids in that time they all have there own laptops brand new attic conversion brand new top of the range kitchen and new 3d TV someone please tell me how on that is fair.

ParsingFancy Fri 19-Jul-13 10:46:02

That's not being provided by benefits though, is it, sonly?

If they really do have those things, either they're on the fiddle, or things like the laptops are gifts from grandparents, etc.

And they must have a very unusual landlord to provide a top of the range kitchen for bottom of the range rent, which is all the family will get in housing benefit. Maybe you just meant "new kitchen to replace 1970s one"?

sonlypuppyfat Fri 19-Jul-13 10:55:49

I visited her house with a friend one who is a nurse her husband is a builder with his own company she said to me she's got the kitchen I wanted but couldn't afford!

parsing from what I've read, £26k is the average wage of a working family. I believe the average working wage is around £21k.

Implementing principles is always where it gets tricky, I agree. The definition of people with disabilities who are excluded should be wider, and carers should also be excluded.

I don't agree that the larger a household, the less reason there is for the adults to work.

ParsingFancy Fri 19-Jul-13 11:36:17

That's the swings and roundabouts of buying vs renting, regardless who's paying the rent.

But if it's any consolation, many renters get very poor conditions as well as not being able to build capital in the property.

ParsingFancy Fri 19-Jul-13 11:54:52

I beg your pardon, Queen, yes, 26K is median family wage for working families. But not median family income, which is higher for working families.

I'm not suggesting adults in large households have less reason to work. I'm suggesting people who are unable to work because of disability (of themselves or someone they're caring for) are more likely to form larger households - adult children living with parents, granny living in the household, etc.

The exemptions for disability are very narrow, so I'd expect the cap to affect these people.

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