How did people survive before wftc, ctc etc?(169 Posts)
Just wondering how people survived before working benefits?
Working benefits have become necessary as wages haven't increased at the same rate as the cost of living. When house prices and rents were still reasonable and prices of utilities, food etc. were rising at a steady rate then it was still possible to manage on a low income. It isn't now.
They didn't. They had work houses and such evil crap, Or the children were made to work too.
There weren't work houses when I was growing up and my parents only got family allowance. As far as I am aware these benefits started in the last 10 years.
'Family Credit' came in in 1986 and WTC (soon UC) are the evolutions of that. Prior to that there was a Married Man's Allowance (personal tax-free threshold) and I think Family Credit was introduced at roughly the same time as that was being phased out. There were benefits available for housing as there is now. There was Family Allowance (later Child Benefit) for those with children. Otherwise, we just managed on what we earned
Wouldn't it be more beneficial to people and the economy to dramatically increase the minimum wage?
That's what bothers me cognito, people managed on what they earnt when we were young. Saved for stuff, had the amount of kids they could afford and went to Clacton on holiday.
A very interesting thread and I'm glad you asked.
It was very hard before Tax credits as there were not the opportunities for 2 parents to work. If you had a close extended family for childcare it was doable.
There was little childcare/nursery available and none that was subsidised, even the free 15 hours pre school didn't exist. There were many dc who missed pre school as parents just couldn't afford it.
It cost £5 for a morning or afternoon at a nursery and I managed 1 session each for my now grown up dc. I didn't work as it just wasn't possible financially.
When tax credits came in I and many others cried as we had been very poor and yes I think our children lived in poverty. Especially in terms of socialisng and early education.
Things have really improved and although there is much wrong with society and major cuts being made, women do have more choices than they did 20 years ago. Unfortunately, those who will lose TC will be exactly like I describe above. Some really tough times are coming.
But that was me. I went to a funded play group twice a week. We scrimped and saved, a chicken lasted 4 days for 4 people finishing with chicken flavoured water with carrots in it on the last day.
I vowed that would never be me and worked my arse off.
Neither DH or I come from privileged backgrounds but my DCs do through what we have done.
I'm just concerned that consistently topping up incomes is not helpful in the long run and it's not what benefits were meant for.
It just seems somewhat counterproductive and I can see why the government are having to cut it.
Clacton?? We used to dream of Clacton . You're quite right however. Don't have anything against WTC in principle but the amount of topping up can be so significant for some that they can't hope to replicate that with actual earnings. A friend's young DD, lone mum to one, worked part-time in a pharmacy earning circa £8,000 and her WTC and CTC topped her income up to a level that she couldn't have matched IRL because she was neither qualified nor experienced enough. I'm not saying it was wrong for her to get the money but she had the opportunity to increase her qualifications at one stage and decided against it because she'd have been no better off. That's the unintended consequence sadly
Don't go back if you dreamt of Clacton, it's gone down hill!
I imagine a lot of women stayed at home and wasted their qualifications and lost their future earning power. Most jobs are not financially viable with a child or two in full time childcare plus travel etc.
I'm currently paying £80 per day in childcare and only just covering costs really and that's with a graduate job. It's only because my DH earns very well that I am able to do this without tax credits.
If neither existed then I would have to give up my job and might struggle to walk into another in a few years.
Yes, a living wage should replace minimum wage.
We got family allowance (child benefit) and whatever we could earn.
Poorer families qualified for Family income suppliment (FIS). Free school meals and something off their rates (council tax).
I have no experience of life pre benefits system, I have just been talking to my mother about her life (born in the 50's, lost her father very young) and they -my mother and her siblings- had to work from home after school to keep the roof over their heads and give them food. They did have a school dinner- even in the holidays. My nan went without food for long periods of time. They fought to survive, my nan had no qualifications to speak of beyond seamstressing, which they did from home.
Incomes suited to the cost of living would be nice, but it will never happen with wage cuts and freezes, when the country gets back on its feet the divide would be far too drastic for most employers to make up.
Family income support FIS was around for years before WTC and CTC.
Whilst I know it's a serious issue I'm crying with laughter at the thought of "workhouses" up and down the
north country in the 1990's.
But in a nutshell, it's a classic case of "losses socialised, profits privatised" whereby wages are topped up by central government and as a previous poster mentioned - it is now at a state where many would be unable to earn as much on the "open market".
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I had my eldest 3 in the 1980s. DH had married mans tax allowance and I claimed Family allowance (not sure when it became CB). We did put in a claim for FIS......he earnt £6 per month too much for us to qualify. The free school meals we would have been entitled to amounted to more than that over a month.
children went to school in plimsolls, no socks, no winter coats, no hats nor gloves.
Parents had no supper, just their lunch. All clothes were hand-me-downs, or jumble sales, or from kindly people at church (and you were unlucky if all your cousins were boys as a teen!)
No-one, literally no family at my school owned a car, 1 person in my street did, he was single man, no kids, regular job.
My parents had no possessions besides clothes and books, same coat and boots for 10 years or so.
Walking everywhere because the bus was too much... though with my brother this was a false economy, because then he neede extra food so he didn't starve
people accepted fewer things, houses were a heck of a lot cheaper and so was inflation.
When I bought my house, in 1999, it cost me £22,000 - it was a 2 bedroomed terrace.
a similar sized house in the same area now sells for £80,000 now.
my wages at the time were £9,000. a similar job now would earn £12,000.
so, house prices have risen by 4 times, wages have risen by a third times.
my mortgage was £130 a monthy. on a £80,000 house, my mortgage would be
nearly £500 a month.
that's how people managed.
For a short period we also had the pleasure of paying poll tax. Every adult over 18 had to pay the same no matter what their income.
I was a SAHM so annual income was NIL. DH paid mine as well as his.....bless him!
I think students were exempt from poll tax but everyone else over 18 paid.
"Wouldn't it be more beneficial to people and the economy to dramatically increase the minimum wage? "
no, it wouldn't.
companies couldn't afford to pay people a realistic minimum wage.
a lot of small businesses can't afford to pay NMW as it stands now
it means that a lot of people are being employed with less experience because they're a lot cheaper, and younger people.
anyone who will accept a lower wage is more desirable than someone who wants what they're worth, and what they're worth has gone up because of the NMW.
i can't afford to pay an over-20yo £6.19 an hour, when i could employ an 18yo at £4.98 or a 16-17yo at £3.68
In the past, the non-working spouse could transfer their personal tax allowance to the working spouse.
Mortgages were only based on one income so house prices were more reasonable.
Many mortgages were based on joint incomes even in the late 1970s early 1980s. I can't remember what the 'formula' was but an estate agent tried to persuade me to include my income (pre DC) for our mortgage so that he could sell us a bigger house. Estate agents were as much to blame as the lenders in forcing house prices up.
"people managed on what they earnt when we were young"
Nope. The benefits were just called different things. National Insurance started in 1911, and there was certainly dole from the 1930s or earlier.
And even with these benefits, from the family history I've been doing, I can say people often didn't survive very well.
I've seen children abandoned in orphanages because one parent absconded and the other couldn't afford to keep them. That was c1920.
I've seen a woman, abandoned by her husband, taking up with a man who abused her children, because it was a way to get bed and board. She died young, probably hastened by malnutrition and poor living conditions, leaving her 6 children to more abuse. That was 1960s.
More generally, childcare was done by older girls, who were expected to leave school to look after the little ones (see socio-political writer Winifred Holtby's 1936 novel South Riding ).
Indeed the school leaving age was only raised to 15 in 1944, and to 16 in 1972. At the start of WWII, children from poor families were expected to be working full-time at 14 or doing housework so others could work.
It just took one serious illness or death to drive a whole family under financially. And that's before you take into account cocklodging bastards of the sort who even now fill the Relationships threads. They were no thinner on the ground then, and the impact on women and children was vastly greater.
my mum's always banging on about oh we never had all these tax credits when you were growing up like you all get today (i grew up in the 80's and 90's)
yeah mum probably cos he cost of living was a lot lower and wages were actualy in proportion to your rent / mortgage / fuel / food etc
My MIL was a single parent to 2 children in 1967 after her husband fucked off never to be seen again. She lived in her parents house (2 up 2 down) until her oldest (my DH) was 6. She worked nights cleaning to earn a wage that her father would then take off her. He was an abusive bastard that beat her regularly. When he started hitting her DD (my SIL) she left.
She was housed by the council in a 1 bed tenement house. She put the kids upstairs and slept in a chair downstairs. She would leave the kids on their own overnight so she could work. Her neighbour took pity on her and used to buy her a loaf of bread from the milkman (that my DH would then steal and feed the birds!). She regularly went without food to ensure the kids were fed.
When my DH was 9 and SIL 8 she married again and had another DD. When DH was 12 his SD died and MIL was on her own again. Luckily this time her husband had a pension that she was able to claim.
Thats how people survived. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
Don't know what rent was like in the 1980s and 1990s. We were paying a mortage and interest rates were VERY high. DH didn't have a pay increase for years and many lost their jobs.....bit like now! And no we didn't get WTC and CTC.
It was CB and what you could earn. Thats why so many lost their homes during that time. The lucky ones got a council house the rest went into B&Bs.
i am always amazed when people talk of a chicken lasting 4 days. it must have been a bloody great big chicken,ours barely last until teatime.
May be wrong but I thought part of the idea was to provide a safety net for those who would have been better off on 'the Dole' than working, by making it possible for them to work in a badly paid job but still get financial help from the government.
You often used to hear the phrase, "I'd be better off on the dole" but not so much now.
no, people didn't always live well on what they earned.
my dad used to work double shifts and weekend overtime to afford stuff.
but doing so meant that he could pay off their mortgage in half the time (from 1968, and about £3000), which meant by the time I was 4, they were mortgage-free. (or could have been, had they not bought the extra land)
but we never went on holidays abroad (we had a week in a caravan at Mablethorpe or Lakeside), and we had one car for the whole family, and had clothes from the jumble sale, etc etc.
People didn't have chicken very often it was a treat. You ate mince (beef probably!), liver and other offal, sausage, corn beef and a roast on Sunday with the left overs on Monday.
Way back only the working men would get meat. The children and the wife would have gravy and veggies. And I'm sure many mothers skipped meals.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Hopeforever is correct that was the idea. Also to try and get rid of the 'poverty trap' because lots in work were much worse off than those on benefits. And in that WTC and CTC have worked.
Houses used to be ridiculously cheap (or are now ridiculously expensive, or in between the two). My uncle was given a house as a wedding present - cost £3,000. It's now worth about £1m. It was common for only the husband to work - his wage was designed to be enough to raise a family on (talking about the middle classes there). People were also more careful with money, I think, especially those who grew up in wartime. My mother when a young mother would never buy herself a cup of coffee. That's where I am now, mind you.
My mum was a single mum in the 80s/90s.
We used to eat porridge or flour based meals as she had little money (dumplings/pancakes etc). I ended up in care and was apparently malnourished.
We had hardly any clothes.
Mum used to send us to neighbours to beg for money.
Our gas and electricity used to run out regularly.
But won't employers be forced to pay nmw when UC comes in as you have to be working at 70 hours x min wage to claim. This is as a couple obviously but whatever your circumstances it states at least nmw.
Will people not work for less because they will lose entitlement.
"yeah mum probably cos he cost of living was a lot lower and wages were actualy in proportion to your rent / mortgage / fuel / food etc"
In the 1980's and 1990's?? 1980's was a tough time for a lot of people. Late 70's we'd had rampant inflation, fuel prices going up so fast the signs in petrol stations whizzed round like fruit machines, until we hit a brick wall not dissimilar to 2008 and the brakes went on. Mass redundancies etc. 1990's less dramatic but I can't be the only person who remembers sobbing at the news that interest rates had shot up (10%+ was it?) and wondering how I was going to find the mortgage payments ... there was a recession, house prices crashed, jobs weren't safe again.
Possibly with the exception of the job-heavy 1960's there's been no 'golden age' for working class people.
I was a single parent before Family Credits came in.
They came in after a disastrous Tory Conference. They slagged off single MOTHERs so much that the good old British general public said 'I say, steady the bus old chap, bit strong what?'
We were the scum of scum. We were called parasites and whores. All this whilst Tory MPs were shagging and producing children all over the shop.
So before FC, you could work or be on Supplementary Benefit. You got and extra £6 per week if you were single but they stopped that because it was encouraging women to have sex apparently.
As soon as you worked you would lose ALL benefits. So you had to find a job that would cover all of your expenses, including childcare. No free 15 hours a week then (something that a fair few well off posters take for granted).
People were trapped on benefits.
FC freed me to be able to work part time and still contribute, pay taxes yet be able to pay rent etc. For a short time it meant I could have some help with childcare but that didnt last long. Me and OH got back together so we managed although in those days the whole of my income went on childcare for a few years.
Without WTC we would be in trouble. We both work part time due to disability and caring duties. We still pay tax and contribute as we both have all of our adult lives (give or take).
OH couldn't work full time.
I a seriously worried about my capacity to work full time.
We are both anxious.
morethan - yes, employers have to pay NMW. i didn't mean less than NMW, i meant that employers are less likely to employ an older person.
Yes houses were cheap but wages were very low. I can remember my dad thought he had really made it when he earned £20 a week. That would have been in the mid 1960s. It did pay a mortgage and bring up 5 DC. Mum worked for the extras......Holidays at Mablethorpe.
DH first managed the magic £1000 in 1971. Women earned much less of course.
iggly I remember distinctly going without food when I was a LP in the 90s. Food was VERY expensive then. When Safeway introduced Safeway Savers me and my SIL cried with relief!
Bread for 20p and beans for 11p. Bread had gone up to over a £1 back then and orange juice was a luxury.
I NEVER want to be that poor again. It frightens me.
Yes it's scary MrsDeVere. And it looks like its going back that way. Under the excuse of austerity.
I'm sorry but the rich aren't feeling the pinch. When Osborne sat there and said that losing child benefit meant that he too was in it together, I could have kicked the tv
I can remember my dhs proposal. Shall we get married love, it will save us tax. Now he was joking, but the fact remains it was an incentive.
Our mortgage was 3x our joint income or 3.5 x one income. For many years my name wasn't on the mortgage as it was the only way we could get one. Our first house in 1992 cost 39k and dh earned about 10k I think. I also know we didn't take the maximum mortgage offered but bought a cheap run down house with 4 beds, that needed so much work doing on it. Dh wasn't very handy, neither was I, but we soon had to learn and now apart from electrics dh will attempt anything. I am really proud of what he has achieved with various homes we have had.
No experience as a parent in the 80s/90s but my mum was a single mum and I was the eldest of 4. We had free school meals and I don't remember my mum going without food to feed us but we didn't dare not eat what we were given and eat it all (which is probably why we are all so overweight now but it was homemade food not junk). We had second hand clothes from friends. I'm sure it was really hard as my dad left when my mum was pregnant and had children with another woman and paid us feck all (but had enough money to go out every week and on holiday and give his other children whatever they wanted like cable tv and sweets...). I remember my mum once borrowing my birthday money to pay the gas bill. When she could she got a job in the evenings and one of her friends used to look after us.
One of my sisters is on benefits and knows how to play the system. She has no intention of trying to get a job or do anything and it makes me really cross when I think about how much my mum struggled.
Yes it's scary MrsDeVere. And it looks like its going back that way. Under the excuse of austerity.
It's not an excuse, the country is broke.
Sadly, it's not austerity either, as a cursory browse of the spending figures would tell you.
I'm sorry but the rich aren't feeling the pinch. When Osborne sat there and said that losing child benefit meant that he too was in it together, I could have kicked the tv breaths,.
The 'rich' are feeling the pinch. Whether it's the once-well-off middle class taking their kids our of private school or the decision not to have a holiday, they're all feeling the pinch. 'The pinch' means different things to different people.
Before working benefits?
My grandad worked and claimed some sort of rent assistance. Working benefits have been around in one form or another for a long time.
We rely on them so much more now because housing is so expensive in comparison to income, and a lot of low income families can't get council houses and have to pay private rents.
The government have cut HB and homelessness has risen.
There are foodbanks opening up and down the country.
Housing benefit and working tax credits were not paid out because the Labour party fancied wasting money. They were paid out due to wages not matching the cost of living. Now they are being cut back, we have an increase in homelessness and hunger. Makes me ashamed to be British.
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.
I got £12 per week Family Income Supplement in 1986 when I was a student nurse.
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.
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
Lots of other sad memories but someone would recognise it in rl...
Don't apologise auntie
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
Sorry it bought up sad memories for you.
I hardly call taking your children out of private school a bloody hardship.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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.
Just a little note to remind you of our Talk guidelines. It can be easy to forget them.
Tax credits weren't generous to begin with, or should I say the founder Family credit. It took a long time and the labour gov to inflate and include childcare element.
When it first started it was basic and no childcare, certainly not paid to high earners, it was relatively low to support low income families, not middle classes.
I'm not sure off the time scale and you may well be right. But I do remember being very shocked that two sets of relatives who admitted to being 'well off' couldn't believe their luck! They were given over £90 per month for their new born's first year. Some just struck lucky I guess.
Meglet. That's what lots of people have always had to do when they have had young families. They struggle on and cope. I think it was harder for a lone parent in the past. Lots of women (even widows) had to give up babies for adoption if they didn't have family to help.
My own DSis brought up two DC alone and lived on benefits until the youngest was at school. There were no nurseries in the rural area she lived in and she didn't drive. She used a CM after school and family all helped her in the school holidays so that she could work when they were older.
When my eldest were small there was no pre school education in rural areas even if you had any spare cash. DC had a few hours at a playgroup 2 or 3 mornings a week. They started school the term after they were 5 so very few mums had any chance of work outside of home.
Lots did work though. I did 'outwork' from a local factory. I used to sit until 2 or 3 in the morning so that it could be all packed away by the time the DC got up. Those factories are all closed so that's not even an option now.
My mum and grandmas all worked when their DC were small. Poor families have always needed an extra income from somewhere. The old TV image of Dad coming home to a smiling wife, slippers and a cooked dinner really was only for the middle classes.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
They didn't, hence the reason they bought them in.
Well survived.....yes, but they had evil workhouses and people went without food to feed their children.
Some lived in squalor, i don't want to see those days back!!!
I may only be in my late twenties, but with the stories i have read, i'm glad people don't live like that anymore.
When I was growing up (70s & 80s) people used to take on extra work for cash-in-hand to make ends meet. If you were any good at fixing cars, decorating, or could drive etc there was usually a friend or neighbour who would be looking for someone to do a job for £50 here and there.
Nowadays we are all encouraged to report our neighbours if we see them earning undeclared income.
If you needed to work and had children, either a neighbour looked after them or you left one of your other children in charge. Nowadays people would be quick to report families where a child of 11 or 12 was looking after their 5yr-old sibling in the evenings and all through the school holidays.
If you had FSM, it was often the only proper meal children had during the week. A cheap packet of crisps and two slices of bread to make a sandwich with was a fairly typical evening meal where I lived.
If you want a return to the days where lower-earners get little or no financial support, then you have to accept the return of the crappy way of life that went along with it. Many more children coming to school hungry, and taking over child care duties when they get home.
The problem isn't not giving lower-earners no financial support. It is giving them support in a system that is affordable and doesn't discourage people from working.
Tax credits have failed on both counts. Personally I believe they have contributed to the mess we have today.
Life was different
We didn't have many pairs of shoes and lots of clothes
We would never have eaten out, the thought of buying a drink whilst out would be unthinkable. Books were from the library. We didn't have central heating. We didn't have trips to the cinema or zoo or what have you. Birthdays and Christmases were a pack of felt tip pens and done plasticine
If a family had a car it was an unusual luxury
The contrast with today's rampant consumerism is vast
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Agree with the point about rampant consumerism. Wasn't quite the competitive consumerism either. No-one took the piss because you had the 'wrong' label on your trainers, it was more likely to be the other way around. Nothing worse than being accused of showing off or flashing the cash...
I think that things will change, already are surprisingly quickly. For instance the recent recommendation that hospital inpatients should bring a relative along to take them to the toilet, wash them, feed them.
Also foodbanks - surely not very long ago there would have been outrage at the possibility of the poor needing foodbanks?
Housing costs - if food costs had increased at the same rate a pint of milk, I think I remember correctly, would now cost a fiver.
Energy costs - electricity prices for example have tripled, at least, in the past 12 years ago.
Petrol costs - petrol prices have nearly doubled since 2004, in conjunction with the loss of useful affordable public transport
Since for most families these are three of the largest items of expenditure, I think that answers the question.
Mad house prices with corresponding high rents has become the bane of this country. The labour government allwed this to happen because it bought in taxes (stamp duty, household goods, building works) and helped fueled the bubble economy creating a feelgood factor for many. I agree without WTC many households would not survive its a sad situation but bringing down houseprices and rents would be a start.
I disagree Mumzy. Bringing down house prices would trap a great deal of families in negative equity and many others will see their largest asset depreciate. They will then tighten their belts since they will see this as evidence the economy is still in dire straits and create a self fulfilling prophecy.
What we all need is a long period where house prices stagnate but wages in real terms increase.
The government didn't use to take as much of your money so you had more take-home pay!
Houses were a lot cheaper so it was a lot easier
I tend to agree with flatpack and nceguy.
I grew up in a nice middle class home with a pony and holidays abroad and a big house.
However, we all had only one pair of shoes as kids and only ate out once in a blue moon to the Berni Inn. We had hand me down clothes, toys only at xmas and birthdays, sofas were re covered and people lived within their means generally. Plus, you didnt get this sort of entltled envy I see around - theyve got X so why can't I? You cut your cloth, you didn't expect things you hadn'r earned or paid for.
"However, we all had only one pair of shoes as kids and only ate out once in a blue moon to the Berni Inn. We had hand me down clothes, toys only at xmas and birthdays, sofas were re covered and people lived within their means generally."
That's how my family lives now, apart from the children getting new clothes (from Tesco) as hard to find hand me downs. And we're on an OK income.
Yes, we do too actually Gaelic and we are on a very good income ! I hate waste and buying for the sake of buying!
I agree. But my point was that we're on an OK income and that is only way we can afford to live. So I am puzzled how families on lower incomes could be engaged in rampant consumerism. But then we put aside money for emergencies, I have family income protection insurance, etc. Without those things I guess we would have more mn
I agree. But my point was that we're on an OK income and that is only way we can afford to live. So I am puzzled how families on lower incomes could be engaged in rampant consumerism. But then we put aside money for emergencies, I have family income protection insurance, etc. Without those things I guess we would have more money to spend if we wanted, but it wouldn't be very sensible. I think families on lower incomes have the same spending constraints AND no protection.
Sorry for previous truncated post!
The fact our living standards are going down is essentially as a direct result of the fact our economy has slipped in the global race. Economies such as China have shot past us and other asian economies will do so too.
And why is this affecting us? Because they are now (esp China) demanding resources and pushing prices up as a result. For example, oil & gas. China alone needs a staggering amount each month to keep it's economy going, not to mention to grow. They are buying oil/gas wherever they can. As a result our bills go up as our firms must offer more money to compete.
Lots of rich foreigners are now snapping up properties in London, again pushing up prices. This is not just a UK phenomenon. I read recently about how mothers in China were driving up the cost of formula milk in Hong Kong by getting the stuff imported. They don't trust their own brands but do trust HK's.
The only reason we've not felt our living standards decline until now has pretty much been because our government's borrowed money so we could continue to import stuff and we didn't export nearly enough.
Coming back to the point. CTC/WTC/similar are not the long term answer to raising living standards. Trying to boost living standards for the majority in this way is futile. It's completely unaffordable.
What we need is to change our economy to compete again. And that essentially means lower company taxes. Easier for employers to hire/fire. Less rules/regs and to welcome big businesses as bringers of jobs not just call them tax avoiders and hate them because you think if they paid you'd get more in benefits.
"So I am puzzled how families on lower incomes could be engaged in rampant consumerism."
Debt. Back in the consumer boom days I knew someone on a low income who took out a £4000 personal loan they couldn't really afford just so that the family could go to Disneyworld for a fortnight.... then cadged £50 off her sister to pay for school shoes. Not saying she was typical but, judging by the way personal debt shot up in the first 10 years of this century, she wasn't alone by any means.
It may not have been a golden era but people survived for a variety of reasons. The work ethic was a lot higher, people didnt have such an entitled attitude and they only had children they could afford.
Tax credits were the worse thing ever introduced, the tax allowance should have been amended instead. People cut their hours, stopped working and had children that they could not afford to support themselves. There are many past posts on here alone, let alone other sites, from people encouraging others to have children as tax credits will pay for them or people asking the route to fewest hours to gain more in benefits. These are the ones now bleating that UC is unfair as, shock horror, they are expected to work.
Too many want it all but at the cost of others. They believe it is their right to not work or work few hours, to have as many children as they like and see essentials as mobiles etc rather than food and shelter. Those that support themselves, live within their means and have the number of children they can afford seem to be in the majority sadly but the new benefit reforms should start turning things around and hopefully children will fare far better in the future and benfits will truly go back to a welfare state for those truly in need.
They had work houses and such evil crap
That's just daft. tax credits hadn't even been invented when I had my eldest (Year 7). There were only introduced 10 years old. People with children in Year 5/6 and above will never have had them when their children were little at all.
The main difference between then and now is that wages have not risen to meet increased food / fuel / housing costs and there is no incentive for employers to pay a living wage anymore because they know the government will top it up for their workers instead.
The salaries of jobs advertised now are practically no higher than they were back then but of course the price of some things has doubled or tripled or more (like fuel) so whereas once you could live on that salary with no top up and have some money to spare, now it doesn't even pay for the basics.
Actually, food has never in our history been cheaper. In wartime 50% of income was often spent on food.
I was talking more about 12 years ago compared to now Nicecuppachar rather than wartime. Tax credits were introduced 10 years ago. Salaries aren't much higher now than they were then but everything else is hugely more expensive - weekly food shop a bit but fuel and housing massively so.
People managed before tax credits because the salary they were paid covered their basics plus a bit (or a lot) more in most cases. Now it is perfectly possible or common to have a fulltime job and not earn enough to keep yourself let alone a family.
On NMW, working fulltime you'd get less than £13k per year - that is not now enough to live on so it is topped up. The way people survived before tax credits was that they may only have been paid £15k per year but this was enough to rent a flat, buy food and meet all the basics.
The fact that tax credits exist demonstrates that wages aren't liveable. But I think rather than improve things it actually made them worse.
My local council office now has a large sign in it directing people to the local food bank. With a map and everything. This is the FOURTH food bank to he set up in my town in the last 6 months.
People ARE going to need this.
Tiggy - I got the 'old' Family Credit, the forerunner of TC's, when I went back to work (and college at the same time) when DD was 15 months old in 1999.
I got WTC and CTC when DS2 was 8 weeks old and I steered working in a petrol station. That would have been late 2003/early 2004.
I think that was the changeover point from 'old' Family Credit to TC's.
So it hasn't only been around for 10 years, as I was receiving Family Credit 13/14 years ago!
In my mind, the only workable solution other than Tax Credits, that doesn't leave people (including children) in a level of poverty that is unacceptable in this day and age is to raise the personal allowance to £16k.
But then the government wouldn't be receiving the same tax revenue.
Why SHOULD homeowners keep the (vastly overinflated) value of their properties, when other people are going to be going without food?
Is that REALLY what you expect to see in a civilised country?
Just so that other people don't have to stop sending their DC's to private school (I mean, FFS, there are alternatives, there isn't an alternative when you can't afford to EAT!!) or not lose some of the value of 'their largest asset'?!
You would rather that person A didn't lose some of the value of their house (which they can STILL LIVE IN FFS), while person B ends up homeless because they used their rent money to EAT?!
Do you not see that as selfish?
I am amazed at the talk of the 'poor' being engaged in rampant consumerism.
I am a lone parent on a low income. Even with tc's, I have had to go into debt on a number of occasions to buy food, or school shoes or pay the electricity bill. Everything I own that is new was bought by my parents. Most of what I own is second hand. On two occasions, I have had to rent out my house and move in with my parents to sort myself out financially.
If something is needed urgently and costs less than twenty pounds, I can get it together over a couple of weeks by doing without. If it costs more, I will have to go into debt for it. There are no luxuries in my life.
We were poor growing up - dm ate less to allow df, fb and me to eat. Presents were clothes - knitted items were home-made. Furniture was hand-me-downs from better-off relatives. We walked everywhere and had to finish what was on our plates because we couldn't afford to waste food. We were not allowed to help ourselves to anything but water without permission.
And do you know what? It grinds you down. I am on no way sorry for those who are scaling back on holidays or nannies to make ends meet. I have to scale back on food or clothes or other essentials. I want to save so I have emergency funds but I can't afford to. I work hard, have worked at least part-time but usually full time since being 16 while getting as much education as possible and I am tired. I am tired even of living. so don't come out with all this undeserving poor crap. there are people living in this country today who are in real poverty through no fault of their own.
The loss of TC's, and the changeover to UC will affect Lone Parents, the disabled and their Carers more than any other sections of society.
If, like me, you happen to fall into all THREE categories...then you are going to be royally screwed.
The DWP and ATOS currently class me as severely disabled. They class my DD and my DS2 as 'moderately disabled'. They class my DS3 as severely disabled.
There is NO WAY ON GOD'S EARTH I can work. I currently have epilepsy, arthritis and early stage cervical cancer.
Yet I will be losing nearly £300 a month under UC.
I already struggle to provide the disability aids and equipment (including life saving medical equipment) that the NHS and Social Services no longer have the budget to provide.
When I lose this money, it will come down to a choice between running the HEPA air filter and nebuliser that keep DS2 alive, and FEEDING MY DC's.
WTF do people suggest in these situations.
When I had my DC's, I was NOT a Lone Parent.
When I had my first 3 DC's, I was the main earner in my family, and had NO disabilities.
Then my epilepsy started, blah blah blah, list job, career, house repossessed, went into social housing.
Had fourth DC due to contraceptive failure due to epilepsy meds (it happens, read up on it if you disbelieve).
When DC4 was discovered to have disabilities, it proved to be too much for my ex (disabled himself with severe dyspraxia and Autism), and he left us.
So now a Lone Parent, with disabilities, Caring for disabled DC's.
I can't find a single Nursery or preschool for my DS3, as his needs are so complex. Even the SN Nursery has refused to take him after a risk assessment. Even the LA are currently unable to come up with a placement, and have started on the statementing process despite him only just turning 2yo.
Where the FUCK would I leave him if I am forced to go to work? (Leaving aside the fact that I'm personally too disabled to work in my own right).
With my Autistic 14yo?
With my 10yo?
With my Autistic 9yo?
Neighbours are mentalists who are busy making my life hell, to the point where the Housing Association is trying to get a Notice of seeking possession to evict them, so can't leave with the neighbours - the rest work themselves.
No family as I was a Care leaver - and given the physical, emotional and sexual abuse AND neglect I suffered as a child, I am hardly likely to trust my family with my DC's.
So, what's the suggestion?
Yet I'm meant to do everything I do now on £300 less a month, with no possible way of making up that money. And I am already struggling financially!
Homeowners may have large houses which are expensive on paper. But you can't feed someone front that value.
For example if someone values my house at £300k. I don't really have £300k. The bank lent me most of it. Even if I was mortgage free, I cannot get any of that £300k without selling my house and downsizing. I don't think that's realistic.
Back when DD was little, and I was working and studying, as a Lone Parent, I was far better off under Family Credit than I am these days. But that was because I was PHYSICALLY ABLE to go out and work.
First in a crappy job whilst studying, then into a job where I was a HRT payer.
Even working in that crappy job, I had money to feed DD and I well, rent a house, save for a deposit to buy, study for a degree, buy all my textbooks, take DD to London regularly (an hour away by train) to go to museums etc.
My DC's haven't even had a day trip to the fucking BEACH since my ex left 2 years ago. Not ONE.
And people think living on benefits is the life of Riley?!
Maybe they should try it for a while. A decent while. So that when your washing machine breaks, you can't afford to replace it, and you are hand washing clothes for 5 people.
When the only way you manage to replace it is because DLA finally make a decision on your claim and pay you 4 months worth of back pay that you have had to try to live without while they pull their finger out.
And I'm FAR from the only person in this situation who is going to be affected by this.
It's taking from the poor, like the disabled, their Carers, and Lone Parents to give to the rich, so that they don't 'lose the value of their biggest asset' (their house).
It's like a reverse Robin Hood!
And if you all support the reductions in TC's "because we can't afford it", then I assume that you all think that politicians shouldn't be campaigning to keep the costs of their canteen food down, and have it paid FOR THEM (a benefit, no?) "Because we can't afford it".
And you think that HMRC should collect EVETY PENNY due in taxes from huge companies that avoid paying it "because we can't afford not to".
Otherwise, ALL the cuts are designed to siphon money away from the poor into the pockets of the rich.
NiceGuy - but you COULD downsize, free up some of that money and FEED YOUR FAMILY.
What do the poorer people, in social housing that is often already overcrowded, do to find the money to FEED THEIR FAMILY, when TC's are cut?!
When it comes down to someone having to downsize their home so that they can eat BUT STILL HAVING A HOME, or someone losing their home as they don't have enough money to pay the rent AND EAT, I know which seems more civilised to me...
It seems to me that the richer are so busy 'protecting their assets', that they aren't looking down and seeing that in doing so, they are going to cause poverty on a massive scale not seen since the 50's and 60's.
There are so many things wrong with UC, that I don't know where to begin.
No, the way TC's worked wasn't perfect. It had its flaws, like any poverty relief system will do.
But what it DID do, very well, was keep numerous DC's just above the poverty line.
UC won't do that.
Did you know that the NHS is preparing itself for an increase in childhood rickets for when IC really starts to bite? They are training their paediatric consultants to recognise the symptoms. And dieticians too. (Told to me by DS3's dietician that sees him about his allergies).
Is that the way people want this country to be? DC's ending up with a life threatening, deforming, painful BUT TOTALLY PREVENTABLE medical condition through poverty?
The dietician also is being trained to assess childhood malnutrition cases, because they are expecting an increase there too.
Scurvy is another problem dieticians, Paeds and even NHS dentists are being trained to pick up.
One thing people going on about the 80's don't seem to realise is that back then, when you got a free school dinner, it was stodgy, filling, and hearty. Now they serve tiny portions, follow 'healthy eating rules', are often very processed, made off the school site, and NOT in any way suitable as an only meal of the day.
This WILL increase malnutrition. Currently I don't know ONE person whose DC's eat a school dinner that doesn't ALSO have to feed them a proper cooked dinner too.
This WILL increase cases of rickets, malnutrition and scurvy.
As a disclaimer, I will point out that the meals at our school are so dire that even the Chair of Governors is trying to get the HT to release more of their budget to improve them...
It's all very complex and we are all only human BUT it does strike me that some people are poor life choices.
The people I know who are all comfortable well off have some things in common. 1) They are grafters - seriously, scary grafters who work and work.
2) They have often delayed having a family or have a smaller family.
3) They scrimp in the early years.
4) They take risks.
Sadly, lots of women are poor because they left school with no decent qualifications and had children. They have no experience and no job skills. Then, when they are divorced they feel they can't get a job that pays enough to live.
If women are the poorest, why do so many of them not look to the future , get a job/skills.qualifications THEN have kids.
Of course NMW jobs pay shit money. The key is to ensure you don;t have to do those jobs.
sorry niceguy at least you have that option. you've chosen not to take it.
I have tried repeatedly to sell my house - no-one wants it. so I'm left to struggle on with, in real terms, less and less money.
you could remortgage to get through. my income is the same as when I bought the house so the bank won't consider remortgaging it because I am now worse off in real terms.
NiceGuy - you don't think that's realistic because YOU aren't going to be wondering if you'll be able to put enough electricity on the meter to last a week. YOU aren't going to be going without food to feed the rest of your family.
You HAVE options.
The people that these cuts are hitting often DON'T.
Working in a NMW job? Could YOU survive on les than £13k pa? Even if BOTH parents work FT for NMW, their GROSS pay would only be £26k.
If you then add in childcare for 1/2 DC's, then where I live, that would amount to around £12k pa if one DC was school age, the other preschool age.
Leaving you with £14k gross. After tax, there's just no way to survive without TC's.
Wages NEED to increase to a level that the LOWEST paid can survive on without needing TC's.
Either that or housing costs need to drop so that the LOWEST PAID can still afford to rent a house, A ROOF OVER THEIR HEADS, without needing TC's and HB to do so...
Neither option is particularly appealing to those that will lose out because of it, either employers or homeowners.
But those are the ONLY solutions to the TC's 'problem'.
Paying a living wage won't stop employers from being able to feed their family and keep a roof over their head.
Letting the housing market crash won't stop homeowners in negative equity from being able to feed their family and keep a roof over their head.
Dropping TC's when they change to UC WILL stop poorer people from being able to feed their family and keep a roof over their head.
What can be said to that?!
hang on nicecuppachar the people I know who are well-off are people whose parents are well-off so could afford to put off working.
my back was injured in my second year of uni and my parents couldn't afford to help me so I left and got a job.
I got married and had a child but I worked and studied part time. my xh pays nothing and left secret gambling debts which I paid off because our finances were linked as husband and wife and he wouldn't pay.
I continue to work full time and to study to improve my situation and I am not, by far, the only one. women of my generation grew up knowing they would have to work to support their families.
the only people I know who have made a success of living as you describe are retired now.
there is no chance anymore of working your way up in any meaningful sense.
Nicecuppachar - but SOMEONE HAS to do those NNW jobs.
They still have to feed their families and keep a roof over their head.
Why should CHILDREN be pushed into poverty just because their parents made bad life choices?
Would you be happy to see a child with rickets at your DC's school, just because their parents 'made bad life choices'?
Would you be happy if that child you know whose parents are 'grafters' but lack the qualifications and ability to get anything but a NMW job, ends up homeless?
Do you think that people in NMW jobs DON'T graft?!
My Ex is currently working for the NHS as a Catering Assistant. Despite his chef qualifications, and 20 years of experience in cheffing.
The NHS are using him as a second chef. For two years now, they have refused to change his job title or pay him chefs wages. He still earns £16k pa, despite the fact that the job he is ACTUALLY doing usually pays more like £22-24k pa.
His Union have been trying for over a year to sort this out.
He has been loath to make a stand as jobs of ANY sort are hard to come by here, and would probably mean a wage drop of £3k pa.
He has now given them (via his union) until 31st March to pay him the extra, including back pay that he has been promised for 2 years, or he will 'work to rule' and simply do a Catering Assistants job.
If they have no second chef, no sous chef, and are relying on agency staff, they will be paying twice as much. Ex isn't even ASKING for the full £22-24k - he is asking for a wage rise to £19k. As they are getting the use if his cheffing skills for far less than they are 'worth'.
THAT is the truth currently facing the many 'grafters' out there.
Of course PEOPKE in NMW jobs 'graft'. It's stupidity to suggest otherwise. People working in manual, on their feet, NMW jobs have a far lower life expectancy and far higher risk of health problems than those working in an office. It's daft to suggest that they shouldn't be working in those NMW jobs, when somebody has to do them!
I'm presuming people still want their hair cut, their bins collected, meals when in hospital?
Nice - that's total bollocks.
NMW is so high these days that most people in retail (not managers etc) are on NMW, a lot of call centre staff, other clerical workers, council workers etc will be on NMW.
I bet most catering staff are too - I used to get £3.10 when I worked at burger king in the 90s, and the one in Nottingham paid £2.70 an hour. (it was about a quid less than the admin job i went into a few months later)
and carers and health assistants
One of the differences between the past and now is the actual rich are far more rich percentage wise and the richest (not talking middle class people here!) are STILL getting richer, even now. So where's this trickle down effect then?
That's one of the things that pisses people off more now. And that austerity will work is a BELIEF, even though it FAILED in Greece the Tories have still pursued it with zeal, the question is why? Because in claiming "we're all in it together" they can inflict their ideology of privatisation on us all, to make a PROFIT out of us all, profit from our poverty, our illnesses, our disasters (looking at privatising the fire service).
Nickel, NMW is NOT high. Could YOU survive as a family on NMW? Could you afford to rent a house and feed your family of there were no TC's and you earnt NMW? I don't know many people that could...
NMW ISN'T high enough to provide food and shelter for a family when you consider housing costs.
Sorry, but it just ISN'T.
The Low Pay Commission reported that:
"As in previous reports, we define low-paying sectors as those with a large number or high proportion of minimum wage workers. By this definition the low-paying industries are: retail; hospitality; social care; employment agencies; food
processing; leisure, travel and sport; cleaning; agriculture; security; childcare; textiles and clothing; and hairdressing."
Full report is here.
So what happens if everyone decides not to do those NMW jobs??
Mouthy - it's not high in relation to living expenses: remember I am coming from the POV of a business, of an employer. NMW is very high when you've got to employ people to do the job - employers want to pay as little as possible for staff - that's why they jhad to introduce NMW in the first place.
oops Couthy - i misread your namechange
IMO, NMW should be the equivalent of whatever WTC maximum PLUS the current NMW.
I'll do the sums in a minute.
But that would allow everyone that CAN work (and find a job, which considering there are hundreds of people unemployed for every job available, of any sort, ISN'T going to be every unemployed person...) to survive without needing WTC.
WTC is just propping up employers. It is a BUSINESS SUBSIDY. Nothing more, nothing less.
Lets take Nickel. She says she can't afford to hire anyone over 20 as their NMW is too high.
Surely that means that her business is unviable, because she cannot afford her wage bill?!
Why are we allowing unviable businesses to be propped up by paying their staff FOR THEM, in part, by giving them WTC?
And as for CTC - surely that is just a way of increasing Child Benefit to allow for the increased costs of raising a child these days, whilst freezing ACTUAL child benefit?!
If they combined Child Benefit and CTC, it would instantly solve the two taxpayer issue where a couple on £30k each lose their child benefit yet a single earner family on £60k doesn't? Because then all child related benefits would be means tested, and dished out on a sliding scale.
The Government claims it would be too expensive to solve that issue. It's really NOT. The mechanism for delivering Child Benefit as a means tested, sliding-scale benefit ALREADY EXISTS.
Just stuff it in with CTC, and let the HMRC deal with it. Saves an extra layer of buerocracy, (I know that's spelt wrongly but I can't get the spelling correct!) in needing to pay it back out of your partner's tax etc, and puts it on an instant sliding scale.
Can't see why the government never thought of it, tbh.
That way, the smoke and mirrors over child benefit being frozen whilst CTC increases to cover the shortfall vanishes, AND it solves a huge issue that a lot of people have.
None of what this government are doing to the welfare system makes any logical sense.
And it doesn't make logical sense that instead of raising NMW to a liveable level, and letting some unviable businesses go to the wall, as a short term no pain, no gain measure to drastically lower the welfare bill and put the onus if paying a survivable wage back into the hands of employers, rather than subsidising the employer by paying part of their wage bill through WTC, they lower TC's to the point whereby the employee can't feed themselves and keep a roof over their head.
It doesn't make sense to reduce the amount that is being paid out in Housing Benefit without ALSO introducing sensible rent caps for LL's. Without rent caps, all cutting HB is going to achieve is more homelessness, even for families.
And you can't have a job if you are 'of no fixed abode', either. Or claim benefits.
I'm sorry, I really want to fight this one again, I really do but I just haven't got the will. I have said everything that is relevant here on another thread. It's the same old issues going round and round and round.
Privileged people, please inform yourselves and LISTEN to the less privileged people on this thread before mouthing off about what they should and shouldn't do/have done. You really have no idea how crazy some of your comments actually sound to people who can only dream of being in the position you have found yourselves in.
But Nickel - if you as a business owner, can't afford to pay your staff a living wage, then surely your business is not viable.
(I'm not saying you shouldn't be running your shop, at all, honestly, btw).
But as an employee who has worked in retail, in many different shops, it doesn't make sense to me that in order to do the job AND rent a home AND feed my family, that I had my wages subsidised by the Government through WTC, when it should have been the EMPLOYER, not the TAXPAYER, paying ALL of my wages.
It just doesn't make sense, unless you see it as a business subsidy.
And as it is a business subsidy, enabling employers to pay their staff LESS than it costs to rent a house and pay for food, surely as an employer, you can see that if WTC was abolished tomorrow, people are ONLY going to be able to work in employment that covers their basic living costs for food and shelter? And that if a business owner CANNOT afford to pay that amount, then their business will become unviable?
my business isn't unviable because of that - all businesses look to cut costs and the first thing that goes is staff - that's happening in big companies too, not just small ones.
they make part-timers (it reduces employers' NI and tax contributions) and they have fewer older staff and fewer trained/experienced staff.
As it stands, I don't employ anyone.
I worked for loads of companies that reduced staff numbers and hours to get the place into profit (or getting a bigger profit for the shareholders)
If it weren't for greed of shareholders, a lot more companies could pay their staff a larger wage, but profit always comes before people.
But you can't force businesses to pay higher wages, because all they'll do is refuse to employ staff or close down and then lots of people will be out of work.
See all those companies that went into administration? not all of them were in debt, just most of them weren't making profit. and they tried to reduce staff first.
WTC is propping up the viability of small businesses that can't afford to pay their employees a living wage, and it is propping up the profits of large businesses like Tesco et al, that COULD afford to pay their employees a living wage but don't.
MerryCouthyMows talks much sense and she is quite right.
yes, i suppose ibn a way, it is a business subsidy.
but if you didn't have it, all those businesses would have to close.
take a care home - the residents pay for their board, and they have full time care.
If those carers had to have a wage rise, the business would have to pay for it, and the bills to the residents would go up, which they can probably ill afford anyway (MIL's care home bills are already more than she can afford)
OR they would employ fewer staff, and the residents wouldn't get enough care or help, and then the home could be forced to close as inadequate.
A business cannot survive on no profit (or on a loss), so that has to be taken into account.
If that care home closed down, the residents would have to be shipped to somewhere new, which would be upsetting for them, and the bills would probably be higher to make up for it.
Or the residents would end up in hospital because they weren't getting decent care.
so now you have, lots of residents who were happy in the home they're used to being cared for are now in hospital, using the NHS money to live, and you have 20 or 30 care workers on the dole.
In fact I often wonder about all these small businesses out there. I wonder how people make their money, because I have tried and tried to think of a business idea that I think could bring in a living wage for our family to allow me to step off the treadmill I'm on at the moment, and I cannot figure it out. I wonder what people actually DO to earn their money, and how all these business stay afloat.
I guess I have the approach to this that people say - but I disagree - that people should have before starting a family. That is, if I'm going to start a business I want to know it will be viable and not get me into debt. I think many business actually rely on debt to survive, pay themselves money they can't afford and it seems to just go on and on unchecked. Some of those same businesses have staff but they claim they can't afford to pay them a decent wage. Instead of realising - as MerryCouthyMow says - that their business is therefore not viable, they just go on taking and taking, paying staff a pittance and expecting the Government to top it up.
V sorry for the almost complete absence of plurals in that post. Typing malfunction!
i had my first child in 1997, our mortgage was £240 a month (2 bed terrace in berkshire) h earnt £190 a week. I am not sure how now looking back but we lived quite well. One child, house, at least one holiday a year and we ate well.
There was tax credits but we didnt qualify for them as we earnt too much at £190 a week.
£190 a week wouldnt even pay my rent now (divorced and not enough income to get another mortgage on my own), let alone rent/mortgage, food, utilities and be able to save for holiday or nice clothes etc.
My salary recently almost doubled before then i was on £30K plus, didnt qualify for any tax credits or housing etc and after paying the bills and shopping at aldi every week i barely had anything left at the end of the month and was stuffed if i had an unexpected bill or the washing machine broke down, or the car etc.
"And you can't have a job if you are 'of no fixed abode', either. Or claim benefits. "
yes you can.
I used to work in the Jobcentre and we had loads of claimants who were of no fixed abode. they used to have to collect their money from the jobcentre, and were able to collect letters relating to benefits there.
But from that very same source about Tesco:
Tesco typically pays its employees 1% below market rate
And this is one of the most successful companies in the country!
The problem IS the greed of shareholders, in part, I agree, Nickel.
But something has got to give if we don't want to see poverty, true poverty, on a massive scale in this country.
Profit margins for businesses may have to be one of them.
At some point, employees will DEMAND a living wage, because with the advent of UC, it's either that or don workfare AND not be able to afford rent and food at the same time.
If employers close down their businesses because of that, then the whole country is screwed.
Shareholders will need to accept a loss in profits, or no longer BE a shareholder because the company has closed down.
If it wasn't for workfare, this UC thing might work.
But workfare is massively distorting the job market at the lower end. No Christmas jobs available locally as they were all filled by workfarers on 3-6 month placements.
Not one job in any of 4 local supermarkets for over a year.
Yet plenty of workfarers working there.
If workfare in ALL it's forms was stopped, these supermarkets wage bills will probably double. But the work would still need to be done.
People still want and expect their food to be on the shelf when they go in at 7.30am, or 4.30pm, or 6.30pm...there is a minimum number of staff that can achieve that.
So they HAVE to have a certain number if people doing the job. If they commanded a PROPER living wage, rather than JSA of £71 a week (works out to £1.89/hr for an average 37.5hr week - less if forced to do overtime that they aren't allowed to refuse), or NMW of £6.19/hr, they would STILL have to pay X number of people to do that job.
Shareholders would still MAKE a profit...just less of it.
but i don't think it's right to force the employers to pay a certain wage, it's not their fault that's it's not a living wage.
fine, big companies (the ones with shareholders), but smaller companies will go bust if they have to pay more out in wages.
it's not that a business isn't viable because they can't afford to pay a decent wage, it's that a business is only able to pay out what it can pay out.
aviva pays 8% less than the average £6.24 for a CS op.
oh don't get me started on workfare.
Not everyone can work in the jobs that pay well. it does not mean that they made poor life choices at all. I'm thinking of my sister who has learnign difficulties, she would not be able to work in a job that paid a high wage as shes not mentally capable. She does however work three jobs, two cleaning jobs and a shop warehouse. all minimum wage and all part time which make up to 28 hours a week.
Its ludicrous to suggest that just because you are a cleaner, school dinner lady or work at Asda that you made poor life choices. Not at all, they will on the whole be people working hard to support thier families as best as they can. 15 years ago those working in minimum wage jobs could probably have afforded rent with very little help, but you just couldnt do that today.
I live in the South East and rents are high, but if i moved eslewhere i wouldnt have a job to pay my rent. This is the same for someone like myself who earns enough to pay my own bills or for someone who relies on tax credits and housing top ups to make ends meet.
But if the 'company can only afford to pay out what it can afford to pay out', and it can't afford to pay out a living wage, then it IS an unviable business that is being propped up by the taxpayer in the form of WTC!
Why should the Government (and by default the taxpayer) be responsible for propping up unviable small businesses by paying part of their wage bill for them, in the form of WTC?
People are complaining about those in receipt of TC's, without seeing them for what they REALLY are, a business subsidy to prop up unviable small businesses by paying part of their wage bill, and to prop up the profits of larger businesses by paying part of their wage bill, this increasing their profits.
TC's are a business subsidy. Just because they are PAID to the employee, it doesn't make that any LESS TRUE.
Because those businesses are giving people jobs.
and providing services.
without them, there would be more people on the dole and fewer services.
it's not the company's fault that a living wage is so high. that life is too expensive these days.
and you've got to think that a lot of small/medium businesses have been screwed over plenty by the government, so they're being forced into that position.
big companies get everything they can wish for - they're given all sorts of tax breaks and can afford clever accountants. small/medium businesses can't, so they have to play by the rules and get screwed for it.
It's partly the government's fault that so many businesses fail.
Forcing employers to pay people more wont work for many, smaller businesses wont cope with the costs and larger ones will simply stop employing people. Some jobs pay little as they need no qualifications or skills. Lots of people will still do NMW work like students and those who already have a salary in the home and want to work for extras.
If you look at the benefits site, you will see they are set at decent levels. If a child gets rickets through not eating properly then that is down to the parent/s not the government. If they were so low people could not eat then there would have been no need to for the new ruling of capping benefits to £500 a week. A quick look at the benefits site and they are very decent, its only the single people on JSA that get the bare minimum. Those with a few children can net far more than than a person working 40 hours a week easily when you add up HB, CTB, IS, CB, CTC and theres all the free extras like school meals, prescriptions, school trips etc. If DLA is claimed then that income rises even higher.
People are very quick to blame the government rather than themselves. If you have children then you know that financially you need to be able to cover them both at the time of conceiving and in the future when circumstances may be very different. People no longer wait until they have a decent job, a little savings behind them and are in a long stable relationship.
Nobody knows what is around the corner and benefits should be there to support those short term between job losses or for those truly unable to work due to disability but society needs to play its part too and to self support where possible rather than have numerous children or live in areas that they cannot afford themselves. Those that dont claim state assitance have to live where they can afford and limit the number of children they have so it should be the same for all.
What about a business owned by investors on The Times rich list, that provides leisure to the rich and pays NMW because they know they can get away with it. The employees do not bother to ask for more money as they would gain nothing.
The thing is with a lot of these NMW jobs is that they are the jobs that have to be done and can't be outsourced to India or replaced with a machine. So people have to take these jobs, and therefore they should be properly paid for doing so.
"People are complaining about those in receipt of TC's, without seeing them for what they REALLY are, a business subsidy to prop up unviable small businesses by paying part of their wage bill, and to prop up the profits of larger businesses by paying part of their wage bill, this increasing their profits.
TC's are a business subsidy. Just because they are PAID to the employee, it doesn't make that any LESS TRUE."
Tax credits are paid to people who dont work and may neve have worked so how can they be propping up businesses?
WTC is paid to workers not businesses but its capped quite low so the majority of people who qualify either work part time or have a two adult house where both dont work full time. Now that is the choice of the person, many choose to work the magic 16 hours as they know they can still have the same income via tax credits as a full time worker. Thats not the businesses fault. Partly the governmets fault at the time for allowing people to do it but mostly the individuals responsibility for choosing it.
At least with UC the minimum hours are far stricter as they should be. Part time work or being a SAHP are luxuries, lovely if the household income can support them but not something other tax payers should be paying for.
HMOO you are throwing around prejudices like fact.
when I had my son, my xh worked full time, I worked pt and studied. xh changed and it was unsafe to live with him - not something I could reasonably foreseen.
I work ft and have done since becoming single. what is it about what I've said that makes you think I'm feckless and lazy? and I'm not in the minority amongst people on tc's.
what you're peddling there is trash-talk put out by those who want to suggest that reducing benefits for those who work is a good thing. my salary was a living wage but has only increased by 1% since 2006. now, I struggle to pay the bills each month - all of which have increased - some have doubled.
'Tax Credits' are two totally separate things.
You have CHILD tax credits, that are paid to cover the cost of raising a child if you are unemployed or on a low wage.
And you have WORKING tax credits. Which are paid to low paid employees to bring their wage up to a liveable amount. This subsidising the wage bill of businesses.
WTC should be abolished, IMO. BUT IN CONJUNCTION WITH raising NMW to include that amount.
CTC is a different story.
CTC is paid to those in low paid employment that have DC's, AND to those out of work.
Without that, a huge swathe of society would just be permanently unable to have ANY DC's, EVER. Because they would NEVER have 'enough money' to support them without assistance.
To go to those limits, and say that ONLY those that can provide for their DC's without assistance can have them, is pushing desperately close to erm...trying not to say the word that immediately springs to my mind...Social cleansing?
In 30 years time, who is going to DO those low paid jobs if the 'hoi-polloi' that have to claim CTC to bring up their DC's don't have any DC's?
The DC's of the middle class?
Yeah, right. Because all you aspire to for your DC's is shelf stacking?!
Pull the other one.
Someone will still have to do those jobs!
Yes, those that are physically able to work, should. But there's NOT enough jobs for them all, regardless of what the Media propoganda says. And there's not enough childcare for them even if there WAS enough jobs.
Add to that the distortion of the lower end of the job market by Workfare, and it all adds up to the fact that CTC is necessary right now, until employers pay a living wage AND housing costs come down.
And as for bringing DLA into it...words fail me.
DLA is paid in respect of DISABILITIES. It is to enable people with disabilities to cover the additional costs incurred through their disabilities, regardless of whether they are employed, unemployed, or spotty green Martians with disabilities!
What reasons do you have for pointing out that somebody might receive 'more money' if they claim DLA, with such a disparaging tone?
Let's not forget that one Mr. D. Cameron claimed DLA in respect of his son's disabilities, despite being a millionaire.
If HE felt the need to claim DLA to cover the additional costs incurred through his son's disability, despite all that money, how do you think someone that is unemployed, or they or their partner work in a NMW job and they have a DC with disabilities cope financially?
If David Cameron couldn't look after his disabled son without recourse to public funds through DLA, despite his healthy bank balance, how can somebody that lives hand to mouth on benefits or in a NMW job be expected to?!
Very well said Merry!!! I agree with your whole post
Good posts Couthy.
I wonder, given that WTC is a business subsidy as discussed, perhaps the solution is to introduce (in conjunction with abolishing WTC and increasing the NMW) a small business subsidy by which small business could apply for a wage subsidy towards the costs of employing staff. That way small businesses such as Nickel's continue to trade, offer services, employ staff etc, Tesco et al. have to pay the full cost of their staff and the stigma of subsidy is moved from low income staff to businesses? <thinking out loud>
that's a good idea actually - rather like the workfare scheme, but actually fair. and more likely to result in a skill being obtained.
Merry brilliant post, my feelings exactly.
Agree with couthy totally.
nickel since you mentioned care workers ending up on the dole i thought you might like to see what appeared in my twitter feed last night.
Apparently now they are being made to do workfare in homes for vulnerable adults while claiming said dole.
OptimisticPessimist - now THAT is one of the most sensible solutions to this that I have read on MN.
When it is an OVERT business subsidy, instead of a covert one, I'm quite sure most people will see it differently!
OptimisticPessimist - that is a brilliant idea and I wish it would happen that way.
There are so many double standards on this thread it is almost (not quite) unbelievable.
"a business is only able to pay out what it can pay out."
That's only part of it. The other truth is that we've got a surplus of workers at the moment. It's a 'buyers' market' and has been for a long time. If there are a thousand people applying for a job in a coffee-shop, the coffee-shop owner has no reason to offer a high wage. If three coffee-shops were chasing one unemployed person the shop offering the most attractive wage would win. Union membership for private sector employees has declined so there is no collective bargaining power either.
oh, that's very true, Cogito - and the fact that there's free trade/movement across Europe doesn't help - lots of people will go for a cheaper job and can get it. students or people who haven't yet got families will go after those cheap jobs.
so there are several people after the same job.
There's never been a surplus of jobs to require wages to be higher.
obviously not never - i mean in my lifetime.
We have a catch-22 situation because of tax credits (and housing benefit to a certain extent).
Tax credits were introduced to subsidise low wages
and buy votes, so companies decided that they didn't need to pay good wages anymore since workers got subsidised by the state via tax credits and would pay the shortfall. Tax credits bumped up the incomes of those on a low income so they had more to spend and in turn, companies selling goods and utilities raised their prices knowing everyone was either earning a salary or being subsidised via tax credits so could afford to pay more. Because of this tax credits are needed to fund the shortfall in the difference between living costs and the increasing cost of goods. Rinse and repeat.
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