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Petition Iain Duncan Smith to live on £53 a week

(8 Posts)
Justine202 Wed 10-Apr-13 19:11:45

This petition calls for Iain Duncan Smith, the current Work and Pensions Secretary, to prove his claim of being able to live on £7.57 a day, or £53 a week.

On Monday's Today Programme David Bennett, a market trader, said that after his housing benefit had been cut, he lives on £53 per week. The next interviewee was Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, who was defending the changes. The interviewer then asked him if he could live on this amount. He replied: "If I had to, I would."

This petition calls on Iain Duncan Smith to live on this budget for at least one year. This would help realise the conservative party`s current mantra that "We are all in this together".

This would mean a 97% reduction in his current income, which is £1,581.02 a week or £225 a day after tax* [Source: The Telegraph]

Please join in

Justine202 Wed 10-Apr-13 19:18:03

Excerpt of article taken from

Mother-of-three Lorna Sculley works 16 hours a week as a school kitchen assistant in Tower Hamlets (the maximum permitted before her benefits become automatically reduced) from which she earns around £90 a week on top of benefits of £371. After paying bills and outstanding debts, she is left with £50 a week to feed and clothe her family. They have spent the past two Christmases in a nearby food bank – one of hundreds now established across the country. Her three boys, aged 12, eight and two, share a bedroom in their tiny flat in the shadow of Canary Wharf, with the two eldest sleep on mattresses on the floor.
“The weekends are the worst,” says 33‑year-old Sculley. “By then the money has been spent. I sit here and think about trying to take the kids swimming or something, and then I look at the budget and realise I can’t. Sometimes I can’t afford to put anything in the electric meter and know it will run out. We sit here with quilts around us.
“I look out of the window at Canary Wharf, and see all the lights on those buildings and all the heat coming off them at 11pm or midnight, and wonder who on earth is in them at that time of night. I can’t work any more than my 16 hours a week, it doesn’t matter what I earn. I’m a working mum trying to do better for myself and it’s really wrong.”
Sean, her eldest tells me at one point that his mother often goes hungry in order to feed them. She nods and falls silent.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 11-Apr-13 12:23:08

Interesting story but, if you do the maths, Ms Sculley's total income of £461/week equates to nearly £24,000/year which is the equivalent, after tax, of a salary of over £30,000 pa. According to the article that's £2000/month she gets... so where does it go? Central London is an expensive location, the article says she has 'outstanding debts' and quite honestly they must be massive if she can't make a £30,000 salary spin out and has to spend Christmas in a food bank.

I won't be signing any petitions thanks. But I think someone should suggest to Ms Sculley that she gets help reducing her debts and considers relocating somewhere cheaper...

Justine202 Thu 11-Apr-13 12:51:17

I agree, probably a bad example. Most people would be happy to live on £30,000 a year. Maybe she should forego her debts, let everyone else pick up the bill through higher bank/loan/credit card charges etc. After all that's what the banks did!

However, still doesn't excuse our government ministers living on up to 10 times that (and in some cases much more) and spouting that "we're all in this together". Let's not forget also that their salaries and expenses are paid out of the public purse.

No-one's under any illusion that IDS will even attempt to live on the figure he sets as a living income for single people. The petition is to highlight the massive gap between the 1% elite and the rest of us.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 11-Apr-13 12:59:09

I think it's essential we pay our government ministers and other public employees a decent salary. Otherwise, we'd end up with a parliament full of those of independent means rather than a cross-section of society. I don't want ministers to undertake cheap PR stunts like living on £53/week. Besides which, it hasn't been set as a 'living income' as Ms Sculley's story so amply demonstrates. For all we know Mr David Bennett might be equally well off

Justine202 Thu 11-Apr-13 19:27:32

Taken from website - a single person's living allowance is:

Age Weekly amount
16 to 24 £56.80
25 or over £71.70

If they have an extra bedroom they will pay a portion of their rent from that amount (aka 'the bedroom tax')

Those with children receive extra allowances by way of tax credits (For each child up to £2,720 per year)

Then an allowance for rent.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 12-Apr-13 12:43:07

But that's not the sum total. As your earlier example illustrated where Ms Sculley was in receipt of £1600/month benefits, there is the potential to receive Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Child Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and so on. Some of which will be incorporated in the new Universal Credit, some not. So only a person with no work, no children and not living in paid-for accommodation e.g. living with parents, would get the bare minimum.

Justine202 Fri 12-Apr-13 21:21:36

Have a read of the whole article, might change your viewpoint

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