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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:
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nagynolonger · 20/02/2013 04:16

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.

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nagynolonger · 20/02/2013 04:41

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.

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TheSecondComing · 20/02/2013 09:30

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pumpkinsweetie · 20/02/2013 10:01

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.

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coppertop · 20/02/2013 10:18

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.

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niceguy2 · 20/02/2013 12:45

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.

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OneHundredSecondsofSolitude · 20/02/2013 14:39

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

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LunaticFringe · 20/02/2013 15:10

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CogitoErgoSometimes · 20/02/2013 16:15

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...

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Dromedary · 20/02/2013 20:25

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.

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Dromedary · 20/02/2013 20:25

Also foodbanks - surely not very long ago there would have been outrage at the possibility of the poor needing foodbanks?

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gaelicsheep · 20/02/2013 20:30

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.

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mumzy · 20/02/2013 23:16

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.

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niceguy2 · 21/02/2013 13:19

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.

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Abra1d · 21/02/2013 13:21

The government didn't use to take as much of your money so you had more take-home pay!

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ChestyLeRoux · 21/02/2013 13:26

Houses were a lot cheaper so it was a lot easier

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Nicecuppachar · 21/02/2013 13:46

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.

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gaelicsheep · 21/02/2013 13:50

"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.

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Nicecuppachar · 21/02/2013 14:27

Yes, we do too actually Gaelic and we are on a very good income ! Grin I hate waste and buying for the sake of buying!

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gaelicsheep · 21/02/2013 14:41

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

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gaelicsheep · 21/02/2013 14:43

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!

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niceguy2 · 21/02/2013 23:48

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.

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CogitoErgoSometimes · 22/02/2013 09:05

"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.

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HappyMummyOfOne · 22/02/2013 10:20

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.

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tiggytape · 22/02/2013 10:51

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