How did people survive before wftc, ctc etc?

(169 Posts)

Just wondering how people survived before working benefits?

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 19-Feb-13 18:02:37

When Labour chose to pay out tax credits to well-off families on £40k, £50k and £60k incomes it wasn't because wages weren't matching the cost of living. It was a straight-forward electoral bribe.

crazynanna Tue 19-Feb-13 18:05:41

I got £12 per week Family Income Supplement in 1986 when I was a student nurse.

MrsDeVere Tue 19-Feb-13 19:12:13

auntie it is VERY different being a child than it is being a parent in that position.
my children wouldn't remember me going without food either. Its not like I would feed them and sit there complaining about how hungry I was.

I used to get SB (it may have been officially IS by then but it was called SB for ages) on a Tuesday. You had to pick it up from the Post Office. Before I left the Post Office I would buy my £5. of electric stamps, £5 of Gas, £2. Tv licence stamps and £2. telephone stamps.
I would pay my £3.50 water rates and the bit of rates/rent you had to pay to the council which was about £4.00

so that was nearly £22.00 before I left the PO.
That would leave me about £28.00 for food and nappies, clothes and shoes etc.

Food and clothes were more expensive then. There were no supermarkets selling cheap stuff. Nappies cost more as well. They were about £6 a packet. You couldn't use the cheap brands because they didn't work. It was huggies or pampers.

My electric and gas cost more because I was on a meter. They bought in key meters and you had to go to pay points to charge up. This was fine until all the local shops refused to do it because it wasn't worth their while. So you had to walk miles (even in central London) to find somewhere to do it.

I was lucky. I had a council flat and a job to go back to. Me and OH managed to sort things out. He had just left the army and had PTSD. It was very hard going when I went back to work before FC came in because I had to pay everything out of my secretarial wage.

But like I say, it was temporary. I will never forget it though. Losing a shoe would reduce me to tears. I could get clothes from jumble sales but shoes were harder.

I never want to be that poor again. I didn't get on a bus for two years. No way would I waste money on bus fare.

When you are poor life is hard work. Its a slog.

We are ok, if vulnerable, now.

I am bloody grateful for what I have. I have a house and a job and I am warm. My fridge is full and I even have a car.

I don't get all this sniping about people who have less. It bloody bizarre.

AuntieMaggie Tue 19-Feb-13 19:42:31

Sorry MrsDeVere I just meant it was hard enough being a child in those circumstances never mind a single parent.

You just reminded me we walked everywhere and as my mum didn't drive she walked at least a mile to the shops and back with the plastic bags digging into her hands sad

Lots of other sad memories but someone would recognise it in rl...

MrsDeVere Tue 19-Feb-13 20:04:21

Don't apologise auntie smile
And only the first bit of my post was in answer to your btw. The rest was just general rambling.

And of course now I feel really old smile

Sorry it bought up sad memories for you.

Iggly Tue 19-Feb-13 20:08:22

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

usualsuspect Tue 19-Feb-13 20:17:38

I hardly call taking your children out of private school a bloody hardship.

Iggly Tue 19-Feb-13 20:22:27

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Iggly Tue 19-Feb-13 20:25:22

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

tallulah Tue 19-Feb-13 21:12:06

It always amazes me that MN seems to think the 70s/80s/90s were some Golden Age, based on house prices.

I was born in the early 1960s. My dad did the job I'm doing now and my mum was SAHM. They had a set of bedroom furniture when they got married which they kept for about 30 years. We had a 3 piece suite that went to the upholsterers twice that I remember. My mum has the same table and chairs over 50 years on. If they wanted something they had to save up for it. My friends thought we were rich because we had a car (that only came out at weekends), a telephone and a colour TV (rented from Radio Rentals.)

I got married in the early 1980s. We got a mortgage based on our joint income of £6000, for £18000. The bank said we couldn't afford it and originally turned us down but we'd joined their savings scheme so they were obliged to lend us the money. Our house cost £19,995. The same house is now £130,000 and our joint income at todays money would be about £35,000 so the proportions are out of whack, but not by as much as others are claiming.

We had no central heating - just a gas fire in the lounge. All our furniture, carpets, curtains was given to us (third- and fourth hand) by family. You couldn't use credit cards in the supermarket but then most people didn't have cards. If you wanted a loan you had to be interviewed at the bank to check you could afford it.

When our neighbours had their first baby they had to give up their house because they could no longer afford it once she gave up work. They moved in with their parents until they got a council place.

Our mortgage rate went up to 15% at one point. Every month the repayment went up more and more. But there was no stuff. We had a VCR but didn't get a microwave until 1986. No internet, no broadband, no Sky TV. No mobile phones. Cheap clothes didn't exist - they are much cheaper now. Even food wasn't so much of a choice, and was expensive.

We both worked shifts around our children. We hardly saw each other, but didn't need to use childcare. We paid for playgroup for 4 of them. We were always a couple of £ over the limit for FIS so never got any help.

flatpackhamster Tue 19-Feb-13 21:15:05

Iggly

Sorry flatpack but you talk bullshit.

Your complete ignorance of anything relating to the economy and the national debt doesn't make my post bullshit.

Do a bit of research, do some bloody maths, and then maybe you'll see why the adults among the population are worried about welfare spending.

Exactly usual.what planet is flatpack on ffs.

I'm on the planet where if we don't cut our spending we'll ALL be out on the streets because the country will be ruined. I don't live in the Magical Fairy Kingdom Of Endless Handouts like you champagne socialists.

usualsuspect

I hardly call taking your children out of private school a bloody hardship.

That's because, like so many class warriors, you think that 'the rich' are an alien species.

Okay, since we're playing the 'anecdote = data' game, here's one.

A few weeks ago I was asked by a client of mine to recover some data from her son's computer. She was looking for a couple of documents. Her son was a high-flying exec, with a big house and a 6-figure salary. He worked in the ME, in Asia, all big important jobs. He lost his last job about a year ago. Competition at the top end of the jobs market is extremely tight, and it takes a long time (months) to fill a position. He attended plenty of interviews but got nowhere. He and his wife sold both their cars, negotiated a discount on the school fees, cut back on their bills but still not enough money was coming in. They put the house on the market.

In late November after getting his latest job rejection through, no buyers for the house and Christmas approaching, he snapped and hanged himself in the garage. He left behind three children. The youngest is five.

My job was to bundle up all his documents, his photos and his emails and archive them so that his children will have something to remember their dad by.

niceguy2 Tue 19-Feb-13 21:17:19

It amazes me how people have forgotten that the world spun and there were not people dying in the streets prior to WTC/CTC.

For me & my (now ex)-partner who were just starting our family we barely had a penny to rub together. What we did was live within our means. We lived at my mothers house (rent free...couldn't afford to pay), I went out to work since we could only afford one car. Eventually I couldn't really afford that either but the company ended up giving me a pool car to use. Everything we had. And I mean everything for my baby daughter was second hand. The cot, mattress, clothes, buggy, everything was used.

But we worked hard and as life moved on, we moved up. I never claimed CTC anyway because I hadn't realised it was given to such high salaries.

The issues I have with WTC/CTC are not the principle. Clearly they plug a much needed gap. My problems with it are:

1) The entire thing was unfunded. The country couldn't afford it. We in effect borrowed the money and continue to do so. To spend it now so our kids can pay it off (with interest).

2) Giving that millions of families such a boost in incomes in the short term make people feel better off. Many by literally hundreds per month. Yes...finally we can afford xyz. The govt have helped us! So we buy those things. But unless that new demand is met by supply then prices go up! So we see house prices going up. We see the cost of childcare go up. All things where supply isn't easily increased. In the long term the effect is neutralised. You no longer feel as well off because prices have gone up.

3) Though it's improved, originally it gave people a huge disincentive to work. People literally found there were points where taking on extra work would make them worse off. As a government policy that is beyond stupid.

4) It's got millions of families addicted to tax credits. Without them they now literally cannot manage. No government can simply abolish them without political suicide. And see 1) for why we should be reducing our need for relying on benefits.

I'm not saying that CTC's are solely responsible for our deficit or spike in house prices. What I am saying though is that it's a bit like throwing fuel on kindling and when the economic meltdown came along the flames just get that bit higher and harder to put out.

nagynolonger Tue 19-Feb-13 21:28:18

Yes tallulah. Reading your post confirms to me my memories are correct.

Tax credits were very generous in the begining. I'm sure I remember friends getting an extra £90+ per month because they had a baby under 1. These were not poor families either parents had well paid jobs.

Iggly Tue 19-Feb-13 21:29:12

I know enough to know that we're not all in it together.

Sorry but sending your child to private school is a lifestyle choice. It's not the same as someone not having enough money to feed themselves

If we had no money as a country we wouldn't have an AAA rating. You don't get to keep one because the chancellor says the right thing.

You throw about phrases like champagne socialist - where did you get that from? Anecdotes? Where did I mention anecdotes? As backing up my argument?

Yes the country's economic situation needs fixing. However I laugh in the face of anyone who tells me that the rich are suffering. They are not.

usualsuspect Tue 19-Feb-13 21:32:51

Champagne socialist?

hahahaha.

If only.

Hassled Tue 19-Feb-13 21:34:02

I remember when I was working FT in the late 80s/early 90s with two preschoolers. I took home £660 a month and spent £440 on childcare. Then-H earned £11K - that felt to us like good money, but it was grim, relentlessly grim. And we coped by getting into debt because credit was widely, easily available.

Dromedary Tue 19-Feb-13 21:36:31

It's always the same story. So where I work the general pay rise for staff this year is 1% (that is the highest pay increase in several years). For senior management it is 10%.

flatpackhamster Tue 19-Feb-13 21:46:59

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

flatpackhamster Tue 19-Feb-13 21:47:00

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Iggly Tue 19-Feb-13 21:51:46

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

usualsuspect Tue 19-Feb-13 21:53:03

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

niceguy2 Tue 19-Feb-13 22:05:14

If we had no money we wouldn't be able to pay our debts. Therefore we'd be another Greece. We are meeting our debt obligations.

Of course we have money. Just not enough.

We still have the 7th/8th largest economy in the world. The problem is that we are spending like we're the 3rd/4th biggest!

So yes, right now we can meet our debt obligations but we continue to borrow and slowly interest is mounting. If we do nothing our Greece moment will come. Not today, not tomorrow but one day.

When I had my first child the local private nursery charge £2 an hour. You just told them what hours you wanted. It did not have to be mornings/afternoons/both and how many days.

I think that it is way too expensive for parents that need private nurseries now.

The free nursery hours seem to have made thing worse. Children who may have not gone to nursery as SAHM are now have places. This in turn means more nurseries are needed and the ones that are there hike up prices because of demand.

I am very thankful I don't have nursery age kids.

Meglet Tue 19-Feb-13 22:13:16

I'd be screwed without WTC + childcare tax credits. An hour in nursery for 2 dc's was more than my hourly wage. I work PT but still get tax credits to pay for the childcare.

Thanks to these benefits I have been able to survive as a LP and give the dc's a fairly decent upbringing.

So, I assume LP's were screwed before these things existed.

JulieMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 19-Feb-13 22:39:53

Just a little note to remind you of our Talk guidelines. It can be easy to forget them. wink

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now