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How did people survive before wftc, ctc etc?

168 replies

MadameCastafiore · 19/02/2013 14:48

Just wondering how people survived before working benefits?

OP posts:
EnglishGirlApproximately · 19/02/2013 14:52

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.

Wewereherefirst · 19/02/2013 14:55

They didn't. They had work houses and such evil crap, Or the children were made to work too.

MadameCastafiore · 19/02/2013 14:56

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.

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CogitoErgoSometimes · 19/02/2013 14:56

'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

MadameCastafiore · 19/02/2013 14:58

Wouldn't it be more beneficial to people and the economy to dramatically increase the minimum wage?

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MadameCastafiore · 19/02/2013 14:59

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.

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morethanpotatoprints · 19/02/2013 15:01

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.

MadameCastafiore · 19/02/2013 15:06

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.

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CogitoErgoSometimes · 19/02/2013 15:11

Clacton?? We used to dream of Clacton Grin. 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

MadameCastafiore · 19/02/2013 15:13

Don't go back if you dreamt of Clacton, it's gone down hill!

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Johnnysknickers · 19/02/2013 15:14

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.

BookWormery · 19/02/2013 15:15

Yes, a living wage should replace minimum wage.

nagynolonger · 19/02/2013 15:24

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).

Wewereherefirst · 19/02/2013 15:24

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.

usualsuspect · 19/02/2013 15:26

Family income support FIS was around for years before WTC and CTC.

DolomitesDonkey · 19/02/2013 15:29

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. Grin

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".

TheSecondComing · 19/02/2013 15:31

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TheSecondComing · 19/02/2013 15:32

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nagynolonger · 19/02/2013 15:41

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.

montmartre · 19/02/2013 15:44

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 Wink

nickelbabe · 19/02/2013 15:49

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.

nagynolonger · 19/02/2013 15:51

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.

nickelbabe · 19/02/2013 15:53

"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

stargirl1701 · 19/02/2013 15:55

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.

nagynolonger · 19/02/2013 16:13

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.

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