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Universal Credit implications for long-term SAHMs??? Help please!

(803 Posts)
CSLewis Fri 01-Feb-13 09:39:21

Hi, I've just read the Mumsnet summary about Universal Credit, and read that parents of children aged 5-13 will be required to seek work during school hours, though I think those with a baby under one may be exempt.

Does anyone have any further details about this? It feels to me that a parent of young (primary-aged) children is being forced to return to the job market, regardless of whether they judge it to be in the best interests of their family hmm

TheFallenMadonna Mon 11-Feb-13 09:56:26

Has it ever been doable to support a family on one low wage? My mum worked. So did my grandmothers. £13k was not a low wage when I was growing up.

nkf Mon 11-Feb-13 10:00:39

Well, I expect the families on very low wages often went hungry in the past. And some will go hungry now. Wrong in both eras.

All I am querying is the idea of some golden age where a happy prosperous family existed on one average salary.

nkf Mon 11-Feb-13 10:02:27

Actually, scrap "happy." But prosperous and comfortable on one salary.

It was atleast possible to survive.

Now its not.

Nicknamegrief Mon 11-Feb-13 10:10:13

The average price of a house in 1990 was around £55000.

Living on an income of £13000 was doable.

Lots of families in the 1970s onwards were two income family particularly in the working classes but often helped out by extended family with free childcare. You also had children a lot younger being latch door kids.

In an ideal setting it would be great if the state could allow for their to always be a parent at home (should they choose to do it), but it is not an ideal world. Cuts have to be made and most of them aren't fair but that is life.

It is important to remember that the wtc cuts are for those who have children at school and aren't looking for work/not making themselves available for work. As the post suggests, if you can't find work during those school hours then you'll keep your wtc.

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Feb-13 10:32:42

It does depend what one means by reasonably decent standard of living. I don't want to make this about me because we are not badly off by any means, but by reasonably decent I mean the kids get fed and clothed, they have one pair of shoes, wellies and one winter coat. We worry about heating the house, being off grid. We don't socialise, we don't eat out, we don't go away at all, we can't save much. It is very very tight.
That detail is just to be sure we are comparing like with like. smile

TheFallenMadonna Mon 11-Feb-13 10:36:13

That is how I was brought up in the 1970s. Dad a gas fitter, mum worked in a nursery. Not professional jobs, not lowest paid though. A two income family.

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Feb-13 10:40:04

By comparison, when I was growing the 70s, with my dad on what I believe was an equivalent income, we had a big house (our kids share a room), two cars, at least one holiday a year, music lessons for me and DB, etc etc

My point being that single income living these days is a precarious place to be.

And yes wannabe's point about the amounts paid in benefits is very valid. They are not too much, they are absolute bare minimum imo, and very probably not enough. And that is down to the cost of living, plain and simple.

TheFallenMadonna Mon 11-Feb-13 10:48:37

I'm not sure I understand completely.

You have a professional salary which doesn't go as far as your father's did, but is sufficient to live on. I agree that is the case.

However, we are talking about lower than median income, surely?

And families on low incomes have in the past relied on two incomes. No choice re SAHP.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 11-Feb-13 11:03:56

Everyone where I grew up in the 1970s... smart working class housing estate... came from two-job households. The women might have worked part-time in a shop or office and the men worked in factories but no-one starved and no-one flashed it around either. I didn't meet a SAHM until I was about 14. He was a well-paid factory manager, they lived in a massive detached house, and I remember being amazed that she had three teenage kids and still pottered about at home all day doing very little.

In Denmark you know nearly 90% of parents, all genders, go out to work assisted by state subsidised nursery care. Male employment only slightly higher than female. I think that's far healthier

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Feb-13 11:06:04

Maybe that's what we're proving then, that there was no "golden age"? But my rent is £500 a month, that's the important point I think. If we were in a more expensive area, no chance.

I think the point of my posts is that the income at which there is a choice to SAHP is getting inexorably higher. And, more to the point, in our case it's essential to have a SAHP because we couldn't afford the extra costs (second car etc) should DH take a local part time job.

bringbacksideburns Mon 11-Feb-13 11:10:07

I lived on a similar estate Cognito and most of the women stayed at home. My mum could choose whether or not to work and if she didn't like a job she just walked out! We had really good holidays abroad from the very early seventies.
My dh works a 40 hr week and i am jobshare and we are skint in comparison.

I think a lot of the men did shift work that paid well and any childcare that was needed was usually done within the families.

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Feb-13 11:10:35

Which is where I came in basically, saying that it can actually people money to have a second earner once all additional costs are factored in. Therefore the UC policy is fundamentally.flawed.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 11-Feb-13 11:13:56

From what I can gather is.

to be entitled to UC, in other words to keep FTC a long term sahm will be required to sign on, the same as unemployed.
The official line is that they are expected to work term time when dc are at school from 5 years onwards.
The reality is you will not actually work as there aren't the jobs to be had. However, the ruling is clear and doesn't take into consideration what You, I or anybody else feels is in the best interest of their family, unfortunately.
So for those committed to be a sahp they stand to lose.

gaelicsheep Mon 11-Feb-13 11:15:56

Sorry, let's try that again.

Which is where I came in basically, saying that it can actually cost people money to have a second earner once all additional costs are factored in. I think that has changed in the last couple of decades - cost of petrol, no public ttansport, scattered families, cost of childcare. Therefore the UC policy is fundamentally flawed imo.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 11-Feb-13 11:17:29

"So for those committed to be a sahp they stand to lose"

But it's always a personal decision, isn't it? If you have all the information, do the maths and then decide that you're still going to be a SAHP regardless then that's your perogative. Someone else might take the exact same information and reach a different conclusion. Personal responsibility and choice rather than a benefit system steering people down a particular path.

Auntmaud Mon 11-Feb-13 11:32:59

Why should working mothers who may well want to be a SAHM have to pay to allow other mothers to SAH when they can't?

It is really, really that simple.

I am frequently gobsmacked by people who think they are somehow entitled to SAH and not work even though they can't afford it. You ain't . Get over it.

NotADragonOfSoup Mon 11-Feb-13 11:36:35

Why should working mothers who may well want to be a SAHM have to pay to allow other mothers to SAH when they can't?^

They aren't.

If it is as simple as "go and get a job:, where all these jobs are going to come from?

morethanpotatoprints Mon 11-Feb-13 11:37:36


Yes, you are right. I worked for a while and it cost me a fortune and I hated it as I had always been a sahm. I ended up working for minus money and there were no more hours to be had and no promotion prospects by nature of the job. I was teaching and fully qualified.
The UC is flawed in many respects and imo indirectly responsible for lessening our basic Human rights.

Cognito Yes its a personal decision, but its laughable that so many people believe that being a sahp is a luxury that they themselves couldn't afford. In doing the maths we will be no worse off, the only change will be a humiliating visit to job centre etc. We still get the money, but get treated as second class citizens. I really don't want my dd to have to see some of the dregs of society who attend our job centre and I don't have people to mind her while I attend. I hope they are going to clean them up a bit.

No one is saying that SAH mothers should be paid for.

Read the thread.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 11-Feb-13 11:38:37

Why would you have to go to a Job Centre? If you've decided you're staying home, aren't claiming benefits, and you've taken yourself out of the job market then you don't have to go anywhere, surely?

nkf Mon 11-Feb-13 11:39:36

They are being required to look for a job. And apply for them. And to take one one if it is suitable. Or if they don't want to do that, then lose the tax credit. It just doesn't sound particularly punitive to me.

NotADragonOfSoup Mon 11-Feb-13 11:44:03

They are being required to look for a job. And apply for them. And to take one one if it is suitable.

I've not looked at all the detail, but surely they have to take a job if it is offered, not if it is suitable? I assume they have to apply for a certain number of jobs in a given time frame so some will undoubtedly be unsuitable but applied for out of necessity. How exactly is the "look for a job" criteria monitored?

nkf Mon 11-Feb-13 11:46:12

Blimey. Dregs of humanity at a job centre. That is a bit strong. Are you sure you mean that?

morethanpotatoprints Mon 11-Feb-13 11:47:33


Previously Tax credits claimed as a couple didn't require both parents to be working or actively seeking work. The new UC states that they do, so in order to keep the UC a sahp will need to seek work (that doesn't exist) in order to keep the UC.

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