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Actually I'd rather be on benefits

(236 Posts)
Spudulika Thu 09-Jun-11 13:31:10

... than have to work 40 hours a week in a boring minimum wage job.

Not doing either myself thankfully (working DH, I have well-paid p/t job), but thoroughly resenting the line that the conservatives are taking that the reason many people have a terrible quality of life is because they're not working, and that they'll invariably have a better quality of life if they're not on benefits, because going to work somehow always makes your life better.

I suspect that the majority of mp's have never done these sorts of jobs, and have never had to live on the minimum wage, otherwise they wouldn't be saying this.

IMO what makes people's live shit is being educationally and culturally impoverished, poor housing and poor mental and physical health, none of which are likely to be alleviated by spending 40 hours doing repetitive manual labour.

If work doesn't leave you significantly better off financially, is in itself not interesting, and results in you becoming time poor, so you have fewer hours to read, stroll in the park, meet with friends or watch interesting films on TV (all of which activities are free and accessible to the unemployed), how on earth can you be said to be better off doing it?

And then there's the option of enriching your life by doing voluntary work while unemployed, or studying.

So - if you were an MP and I was an unemployed person, how would you persuade me that I would be much happier cleaning out buses for 40 hours a week, than sitting at home reading the newspaper and listening to the radio?

ooohyouareawfulbutilikeyou Thu 09-Jun-11 13:33:55

oh well hopefully the govt will weed out parasites like this fairly soon

itisnearlysummer Thu 09-Jun-11 13:35:04

I'd find it really difficult tbh.

Actually, I was on benefits for a short while many moons ago and the benefit advisor advised me to stay on benefits rather than look for work as it wouldn't be financially worth my while to do so!

So I took her advice!

OTheHugeManatee Thu 09-Jun-11 13:36:22


turdass Thu 09-Jun-11 13:37:00

I agree with you OP BUT I will say that work is not just for the benefit of the individual. It is about contributing to society and a lot of people get self-esteem from being a contributing member of society. Also if they can work and there is a job, even if it pays peanuts, then the person should still do it as it is not society's responsibilty to carry that person for free.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 09-Jun-11 13:37:10

YABU... A job's a job. You might be too snobby to value 'repetitive manual labour' but, for some people, that's the way they make a living and they do take pride in it, it gives them a social life and they have a reason to get up in the morning.. The welfare state was built on the assumption that people would always rather work than live on hand-outs. Maybe that assumption needs to be challenged today but, when the rest of us are paying, I don't think 'doing nothing' should be accepted as an option.

itisnearlysummer Thu 09-Jun-11 13:37:57

I should say that this was 15 years ago and I didn't take her advice for long before I found work and then went to university.

turdass Thu 09-Jun-11 13:38:13

(and I say that as a person who happily claimed the princely sum of £27 a week for a long time to fund my feckless lifestyle as a punk).

Spudulika Thu 09-Jun-11 13:38:42

So you think these people are evil then oohyouareawful?

Scholes34 Thu 09-Jun-11 13:38:50

Not sure that I could. My cousin manages two foreign holidays a year and has Sky (full package) whilst on benefits. We'll be camping again.

itisnearlysummer Thu 09-Jun-11 13:40:34

can buy a fair few pots of Directions with £27 though turdass!

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 09-Jun-11 13:41:10

Not 'evil'... but there's a reason why sloth was classed as a deadly sin. Read the paper and listen to the radio while the rest of society flogs itself to death working and paying taxes? Give over....

BeerTricksPotter Thu 09-Jun-11 13:42:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BooyHoo Thu 09-Jun-11 13:42:19

again with the Sky!! i suppose a HD tv aswell?

i am on benefits an i dont have a flat screen HD tv. i dont have sky. i dont have any fucking holidays let alone a capming holiday. i dont even have a sleeping bag!!

bronze Thu 09-Jun-11 13:44:44

My dh recently lost his job again sad

We added up how much we would get in benefits as this time we are claiming the lot for the first time. It works out to be about the same as he got working even adding on tax credits etc.

He jokingly said yesterday that he wouldn't bother going back to work. We both know he would jump at the chance though as it really knocks his self esteem not working. I can see why some people would feel differently though

Spudulika Thu 09-Jun-11 13:44:54

"It is about contributing to society and a lot of people get self-esteem from being a contributing member of society"

There are many ways of contributing to a society that don't involve working for minimum wage.

Thinking back to when I was a gal, I remember working at Pizza Hut, for the princely sum of £2.30 an hour. I was paying £40 a week for my room in a shared flat at the time, had to cut my own hair and had holes in my shoes I couldn't afford to get fixed.

I don't remember thinking 'I'm making a real contribution to society here'. I just remember thinking about the profits that Pepsi (who owned Pizza Hut at the time) were making, and thinking 'fucking bastards'.

On the other hand if I'd been signing on but had been encouraged to go into a local school to help with reading, or to an old people's home to play cards with the residents, I'm sure I was have had a very strong sense of having done something to contribute to the collective good. But contributing to the profits of a multi-national didn't make me feel that way.

tomhardyismydh Thu 09-Jun-11 13:45:54

Working does improve your life, like it or not it does.

Spudulika Thu 09-Jun-11 13:46:25

"We both know he would jump at the chance though as it really knocks his self esteem not working. I can see why some people would feel differently though"

Sorry about your DH. sad

Any chance he could use the time in between jobs to study or do voluntary work?

Scholes34 Thu 09-Jun-11 13:47:45

Yes, it's a HD TV, and they've got pets and a newer car than ours. My camping gear is second hand - stove is at least 40 years old.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 09-Jun-11 13:47:53

You might not have enjoyed your job at Pizza Hut but many would appreciate it. Again, you're being very disparaging about the value of such roles based purely on your own snobbery.

turdass Thu 09-Jun-11 13:48:04

If you live on your own then not working is very lonely. You can go days without seeing anybody and you lose your will to live. I didn't work as a punk because I pretended I was rejecting the system. In reality I had a very low self esteem. It was just easier to stay in the house. I had loads of friends who weere the same.

tomhardyismydh Thu 09-Jun-11 13:48:19

Not sure that I could. My cousin manages two foreign holidays a year and has Sky (full package) whilst on benefits


then she is obviously subsidising it by debt or something else

itisnearlysummer Thu 09-Jun-11 13:48:28

I don't really understand the ins and outs Booy.

I have known people on benefits who have nothing seem to really struggle, I've known people on benefits who do have Sky.

My DH used to work for the benefits service and occasionally made home visits. It caused many an argument at home when I said "but we can't afford a ...." and he'd been to a house to visit a claimant who had one. hmm

Of course we don't know their individual circumstances, but it is possible to know how much money people (should) have coming in.

Spudulika Thu 09-Jun-11 13:48:39

"Working does improve your life, like it or not it does"

Depends what work it is doesn't it?

How does doing poorly paid, repetitive work improve the quality of your life if you are a) not learning anything b) have limited chances of advancement and/or c) are no earning significantly more than what you'd get on benefits?

It's humiliating feeling like you're being exploited, and many people in low paid jobs feel that way.

EdithWeston Thu 09-Jun-11 13:48:45

I thought one of the policy aims of the Government's benefits reforms was to ensure that people would always be better off if they were in work?

I don't know if that will prove possible, but on the general assumption it'll happen in the next few years, then there is a cold, hard cash argument.

Also, even if a job you dislike is the only current option, it is easier to find better jobs as you gain experience (and often easier to secure a post if you have a current CV). So your prospects improve.

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