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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:
Nicecuppachar · 22/02/2013 11:16

Actually, food has never in our history been cheaper. In wartime 50% of income was often spent on food.

tiggytape · 22/02/2013 11:29

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

RatPants · 22/02/2013 11:50

The fact that tax credits exist demonstrates that wages aren't liveable. But I think rather than improve things it actually made them worse.

MerryCouthyMows · 22/02/2013 11:55

My local council office now has a large sign in it directing people to the local food bank. With a map and everything. This is the FOURTH food bank to he set up in my town in the last 6 months.

People ARE going to need this.

MerryCouthyMows · 22/02/2013 12:03

Tiggy - I got the 'old' Family Credit, the forerunner of TC's, when I went back to work (and college at the same time) when DD was 15 months old in 1999.

I got WTC and CTC when DS2 was 8 weeks old and I steered working in a petrol station. That would have been late 2003/early 2004.

I think that was the changeover point from 'old' Family Credit to TC's.

So it hasn't only been around for 10 years, as I was receiving Family Credit 13/14 years ago!

MerryCouthyMows · 22/02/2013 12:10

In my mind, the only workable solution other than Tax Credits, that doesn't leave people (including children) in a level of poverty that is unacceptable in this day and age is to raise the personal allowance to £16k.

But then the government wouldn't be receiving the same tax revenue.

Why SHOULD homeowners keep the (vastly overinflated) value of their properties, when other people are going to be going without food?

Is that REALLY what you expect to see in a civilised country?

Just so that other people don't have to stop sending their DC's to private school (I mean, FFS, there are alternatives, there isn't an alternative when you can't afford to EAT!!) or not lose some of the value of 'their largest asset'?!

You would rather that person A didn't lose some of the value of their house (which they can STILL LIVE IN FFS), while person B ends up homeless because they used their rent money to EAT?!


Do you not see that as selfish?

HellesBelles396 · 22/02/2013 12:22

I am amazed at the talk of the 'poor' being engaged in rampant consumerism.

I am a lone parent on a low income. Even with tc's, I have had to go into debt on a number of occasions to buy food, or school shoes or pay the electricity bill. Everything I own that is new was bought by my parents. Most of what I own is second hand. On two occasions, I have had to rent out my house and move in with my parents to sort myself out financially.

If something is needed urgently and costs less than twenty pounds, I can get it together over a couple of weeks by doing without. If it costs more, I will have to go into debt for it. There are no luxuries in my life.

We were poor growing up - dm ate less to allow df, fb and me to eat. Presents were clothes - knitted items were home-made. Furniture was hand-me-downs from better-off relatives. We walked everywhere and had to finish what was on our plates because we couldn't afford to waste food. We were not allowed to help ourselves to anything but water without permission.

And do you know what? It grinds you down. I am on no way sorry for those who are scaling back on holidays or nannies to make ends meet. I have to scale back on food or clothes or other essentials. I want to save so I have emergency funds but I can't afford to. I work hard, have worked at least part-time but usually full time since being 16 while getting as much education as possible and I am tired. I am tired even of living. so don't come out with all this undeserving poor crap. there are people living in this country today who are in real poverty through no fault of their own.

MerryCouthyMows · 22/02/2013 12:25

The loss of TC's, and the changeover to UC will affect Lone Parents, the disabled and their Carers more than any other sections of society.

If, like me, you happen to fall into all THREE categories...then you are going to be royally screwed.

The DWP and ATOS currently class me as severely disabled. They class my DD and my DS2 as 'moderately disabled'. They class my DS3 as severely disabled.

There is NO WAY ON GOD'S EARTH I can work. I currently have epilepsy, arthritis and early stage cervical cancer.

Yet I will be losing nearly £300 a month under UC.

I already struggle to provide the disability aids and equipment (including life saving medical equipment) that the NHS and Social Services no longer have the budget to provide.

When I lose this money, it will come down to a choice between running the HEPA air filter and nebuliser that keep DS2 alive, and FEEDING MY DC's.

WTF do people suggest in these situations.

When I had my DC's, I was NOT a Lone Parent.

When I had my first 3 DC's, I was the main earner in my family, and had NO disabilities.

Then my epilepsy started, blah blah blah, list job, career, house repossessed, went into social housing.

Had fourth DC due to contraceptive failure due to epilepsy meds (it happens, read up on it if you disbelieve).

When DC4 was discovered to have disabilities, it proved to be too much for my ex (disabled himself with severe dyspraxia and Autism), and he left us.

So now a Lone Parent, with disabilities, Caring for disabled DC's.

I can't find a single Nursery or preschool for my DS3, as his needs are so complex. Even the SN Nursery has refused to take him after a risk assessment. Even the LA are currently unable to come up with a placement, and have started on the statementing process despite him only just turning 2yo.

Where the FUCK would I leave him if I am forced to go to work? (Leaving aside the fact that I'm personally too disabled to work in my own right).

With my Autistic 14yo?

With my 10yo?

With my Autistic 9yo?


Neighbours are mentalists who are busy making my life hell, to the point where the Housing Association is trying to get a Notice of seeking possession to evict them, so can't leave with the neighbours - the rest work themselves.

No family as I was a Care leaver - and given the physical, emotional and sexual abuse AND neglect I suffered as a child, I am hardly likely to trust my family with my DC's.

So, what's the suggestion?

Yet I'm meant to do everything I do now on £300 less a month, with no possible way of making up that money. And I am already struggling financially!

niceguy2 · 22/02/2013 12:34

Homeowners may have large houses which are expensive on paper. But you can't feed someone front that value.

For example if someone values my house at £300k. I don't really have £300k. The bank lent me most of it. Even if I was mortgage free, I cannot get any of that £300k without selling my house and downsizing. I don't think that's realistic.

MerryCouthyMows · 22/02/2013 12:35

Back when DD was little, and I was working and studying, as a Lone Parent, I was far better off under Family Credit than I am these days. But that was because I was PHYSICALLY ABLE to go out and work.

First in a crappy job whilst studying, then into a job where I was a HRT payer.

Even working in that crappy job, I had money to feed DD and I well, rent a house, save for a deposit to buy, study for a degree, buy all my textbooks, take DD to London regularly (an hour away by train) to go to museums etc.

My DC's haven't even had a day trip to the fucking BEACH since my ex left 2 years ago. Not ONE.

And people think living on benefits is the life of Riley?!

Maybe they should try it for a while. A decent while. So that when your washing machine breaks, you can't afford to replace it, and you are hand washing clothes for 5 people.

When the only way you manage to replace it is because DLA finally make a decision on your claim and pay you 4 months worth of back pay that you have had to try to live without while they pull their finger out.

And I'm FAR from the only person in this situation who is going to be affected by this.

It's taking from the poor, like the disabled, their Carers, and Lone Parents to give to the rich, so that they don't 'lose the value of their biggest asset' (their house).

It's like a reverse Robin Hood!

MerryCouthyMows · 22/02/2013 12:37

And if you all support the reductions in TC's "because we can't afford it", then I assume that you all think that politicians shouldn't be campaigning to keep the costs of their canteen food down, and have it paid FOR THEM (a benefit, no?) "Because we can't afford it".

And you think that HMRC should collect EVETY PENNY due in taxes from huge companies that avoid paying it "because we can't afford not to".

Otherwise, ALL the cuts are designed to siphon money away from the poor into the pockets of the rich.

MerryCouthyMows · 22/02/2013 12:40

NiceGuy - but you COULD downsize, free up some of that money and FEED YOUR FAMILY.

What do the poorer people, in social housing that is often already overcrowded, do to find the money to FEED THEIR FAMILY, when TC's are cut?!

When it comes down to someone having to downsize their home so that they can eat BUT STILL HAVING A HOME, or someone losing their home as they don't have enough money to pay the rent AND EAT, I know which seems more civilised to me...

MerryCouthyMows · 22/02/2013 12:52

It seems to me that the richer are so busy 'protecting their assets', that they aren't looking down and seeing that in doing so, they are going to cause poverty on a massive scale not seen since the 50's and 60's.

There are so many things wrong with UC, that I don't know where to begin.

No, the way TC's worked wasn't perfect. It had its flaws, like any poverty relief system will do.

But what it DID do, very well, was keep numerous DC's just above the poverty line.

UC won't do that.

Did you know that the NHS is preparing itself for an increase in childhood rickets for when IC really starts to bite? They are training their paediatric consultants to recognise the symptoms. And dieticians too. (Told to me by DS3's dietician that sees him about his allergies).

Is that the way people want this country to be? DC's ending up with a life threatening, deforming, painful BUT TOTALLY PREVENTABLE medical condition through poverty?

The dietician also is being trained to assess childhood malnutrition cases, because they are expecting an increase there too.

Scurvy is another problem dieticians, Paeds and even NHS dentists are being trained to pick up.

One thing people going on about the 80's don't seem to realise is that back then, when you got a free school dinner, it was stodgy, filling, and hearty. Now they serve tiny portions, follow 'healthy eating rules', are often very processed, made off the school site, and NOT in any way suitable as an only meal of the day.

This WILL increase malnutrition. Currently I don't know ONE person whose DC's eat a school dinner that doesn't ALSO have to feed them a proper cooked dinner too.

This WILL increase cases of rickets, malnutrition and scurvy.

MerryCouthyMows · 22/02/2013 12:54

As a disclaimer, I will point out that the meals at our school are so dire that even the Chair of Governors is trying to get the HT to release more of their budget to improve them...

Nicecuppachar · 22/02/2013 13:00

It's all very complex and we are all only human BUT it does strike me that some people are poor life choices.

The people I know who are all comfortable well off have some things in common. 1) They are grafters - seriously, scary grafters who work and work.
2) They have often delayed having a family or have a smaller family.
3) They scrimp in the early years.
4) They take risks.

Sadly, lots of women are poor because they left school with no decent qualifications and had children. They have no experience and no job skills. Then, when they are divorced they feel they can't get a job that pays enough to live.
If women are the poorest, why do so many of them not look to the future , get a job/skills.qualifications THEN have kids.
Of course NMW jobs pay shit money. The key is to ensure you don;t have to do those jobs.

HellesBelles396 · 22/02/2013 13:03

sorry niceguy at least you have that option. you've chosen not to take it.

I have tried repeatedly to sell my house - no-one wants it. so I'm left to struggle on with, in real terms, less and less money.
you could remortgage to get through. my income is the same as when I bought the house so the bank won't consider remortgaging it because I am now worse off in real terms.

MerryCouthyMows · 22/02/2013 13:05

NiceGuy - you don't think that's realistic because YOU aren't going to be wondering if you'll be able to put enough electricity on the meter to last a week. YOU aren't going to be going without food to feed the rest of your family.

You HAVE options.

The people that these cuts are hitting often DON'T.

Working in a NMW job? Could YOU survive on les than £13k pa? Even if BOTH parents work FT for NMW, their GROSS pay would only be £26k.

If you then add in childcare for 1/2 DC's, then where I live, that would amount to around £12k pa if one DC was school age, the other preschool age.

Leaving you with £14k gross. After tax, there's just no way to survive without TC's.

Wages NEED to increase to a level that the LOWEST paid can survive on without needing TC's.

Either that or housing costs need to drop so that the LOWEST PAID can still afford to rent a house, A ROOF OVER THEIR HEADS, without needing TC's and HB to do so...

Neither option is particularly appealing to those that will lose out because of it, either employers or homeowners.

But those are the ONLY solutions to the TC's 'problem'.

Paying a living wage won't stop employers from being able to feed their family and keep a roof over their head.

Letting the housing market crash won't stop homeowners in negative equity from being able to feed their family and keep a roof over their head.

Dropping TC's when they change to UC WILL stop poorer people from being able to feed their family and keep a roof over their head.

What can be said to that?!

HellesBelles396 · 22/02/2013 13:10

hang on nicecuppachar the people I know who are well-off are people whose parents are well-off so could afford to put off working.

my back was injured in my second year of uni and my parents couldn't afford to help me so I left and got a job.

I got married and had a child but I worked and studied part time. my xh pays nothing and left secret gambling debts which I paid off because our finances were linked as husband and wife and he wouldn't pay.

I continue to work full time and to study to improve my situation and I am not, by far, the only one. women of my generation grew up knowing they would have to work to support their families.

the only people I know who have made a success of living as you describe are retired now.

there is no chance anymore of working your way up in any meaningful sense.

MerryCouthyMows · 22/02/2013 13:17

Nicecuppachar - but SOMEONE HAS to do those NNW jobs.

They still have to feed their families and keep a roof over their head.

Why should CHILDREN be pushed into poverty just because their parents made bad life choices?

Would you be happy to see a child with rickets at your DC's school, just because their parents 'made bad life choices'?

Would you be happy if that child you know whose parents are 'grafters' but lack the qualifications and ability to get anything but a NMW job, ends up homeless?

Do you think that people in NMW jobs DON'T graft?!

My Ex is currently working for the NHS as a Catering Assistant. Despite his chef qualifications, and 20 years of experience in cheffing.

The NHS are using him as a second chef. For two years now, they have refused to change his job title or pay him chefs wages. He still earns £16k pa, despite the fact that the job he is ACTUALLY doing usually pays more like £22-24k pa.

His Union have been trying for over a year to sort this out.

He has been loath to make a stand as jobs of ANY sort are hard to come by here, and would probably mean a wage drop of £3k pa.

He has now given them (via his union) until 31st March to pay him the extra, including back pay that he has been promised for 2 years, or he will 'work to rule' and simply do a Catering Assistants job.

If they have no second chef, no sous chef, and are relying on agency staff, they will be paying twice as much. Ex isn't even ASKING for the full £22-24k - he is asking for a wage rise to £19k. As they are getting the use if his cheffing skills for far less than they are 'worth'.

THAT is the truth currently facing the many 'grafters' out there.

Of course PEOPKE in NMW jobs 'graft'. It's stupidity to suggest otherwise. People working in manual, on their feet, NMW jobs have a far lower life expectancy and far higher risk of health problems than those working in an office. It's daft to suggest that they shouldn't be working in those NMW jobs, when somebody has to do them!

I'm presuming people still want their hair cut, their bins collected, meals when in hospital?

nickelbabe · 22/02/2013 13:23

Nice - that's total bollocks.

NMW is so high these days that most people in retail (not managers etc) are on NMW, a lot of call centre staff, other clerical workers, council workers etc will be on NMW.
I bet most catering staff are too - I used to get £3.10 when I worked at burger king in the 90s, and the one in Nottingham paid £2.70 an hour. (it was about a quid less than the admin job i went into a few months later)

nickelbabe · 22/02/2013 13:25

and carers and health assistants

RedwingOnFire · 22/02/2013 13:31

One of the differences between the past and now is the actual rich are far more rich percentage wise and the richest (not talking middle class people here!) are STILL getting richer, even now. So where's this trickle down effect then?

That's one of the things that pisses people off more now. And that austerity will work is a BELIEF, even though it FAILED in Greece the Tories have still pursued it with zeal, the question is why? Because in claiming "we're all in it together" they can inflict their ideology of privatisation on us all, to make a PROFIT out of us all, profit from our poverty, our illnesses, our disasters (looking at privatising the fire service).


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MerryCouthyMows · 22/02/2013 13:31

Nickel, NMW is NOT high. Could YOU survive as a family on NMW? Could you afford to rent a house and feed your family of there were no TC's and you earnt NMW? I don't know many people that could...

NMW ISN'T high enough to provide food and shelter for a family when you consider housing costs.

Sorry, but it just ISN'T.

coppertop · 22/02/2013 13:36

The Low Pay Commission reported that:

"As in previous reports, we define low-paying sectors as those with a large number or high proportion of minimum wage workers. By this definition the low-paying industries are: retail; hospitality; social care; employment agencies; food
processing; leisure, travel and sport; cleaning; agriculture; security; childcare; textiles and clothing; and hairdressing."

Full report is here.

So what happens if everyone decides not to do those NMW jobs??

nickelbabe · 22/02/2013 13:42

Mouthy - it's not high in relation to living expenses: remember I am coming from the POV of a business, of an employer. NMW is very high when you've got to employ people to do the job - employers want to pay as little as possible for staff - that's why they jhad to introduce NMW in the first place.

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