I’ve not been able to access the blog site for a few days – major maintenance? gremlins on the www? or just plain old internet umbuggerance [most likely].
There were discussions about the cap in benefits payable, £350 for a single person and £500 for a couple. At first my brain didn’t click in to the ‘weekly’ bit and thought, hmm that sounds particularly low. Then the penny dropped [quickly someone pick that up, penny saved and all that, or penny penny bring me luck as I stopped to pick you up] ….. £350 per week, why that’s more than I get, one heck of a lot more than I get!
Whipping out the calculator and number crunching on a tax calculations page, my jaw did drop! £350 per week after deductions equates to £22,620 per year gross. Who what where when how! With National Minimum Wage at £6.19 per hour, on an average 37.5 hours a week, that is only £12,070 gross per year, yes ‘some’ can get help with council tax and housing benefit and working tax credits, but still, it is a hell of a gap.
Excluding the disabled benefits that I receive [which are excluded from that £350 figure as well] I receive the derisory sum of £105 per week, the reason I get no more than that is because I did that thing I was taught to do and told to do by all political parties – I saved up. Add to that the inheritance I received because my parents died and I am over the thresholds. To be fair, also I am fortunate in that I own my home so do not pay rent, but I don’t get any help with Council Tax, nor prescriptions, glasses, dental, orthotics [back brace, foot splint etc], I get no winter fuel allowance nor cold weather payment either.
Yes, as well, that £350 is a maximum, it includes Housing Benefit [which for a one bed grot box is over £100 per week] and Council Tax Benefit [about £18 per week for single dweller]. Still with proper budgeting and priorities a single person ‘could’ potentially live quite well, they’d have to quit smoking and drinking, learn to cook and not live on take-aways, but clothes on sale and wear them out. I’ve cut my cloth as they say.
Life on benefits should never be a life-style-choice, it should not be seen as easy street, but there in lies the rub, some people have no choice. I did not choose to become so ill that I could not work. Many did not choose to loose their job in a seriously economically deprived area. But so many seem to have lashed themselves to the mind set of “I am entitled to …” or the “This is my issue, you fix it ..” mind set. If you want 12 kids, fine, but your choice comes with your responsibility to care for them, not my responsibility. You choose not to work, to shirk seeking employment then the consequences are yours, it is your responsibility to actively participate in society, not my responsibility to provide for your laziness. Of course, these are the micro percent minority that the media jump on and hype up.
The system was never designed for the volume, the budget won’t balance, ever. Pension rates rise, as do the number of those entitled and they all live longer. Disability number rise as medical science progresses but does not progress far enough to enable the majority to full time work. Employment falls as technology and globalisation diminishes the number of personnel needed to produce something [other than government agencies and their administration offices, lol].
There is no ‘fix’, there is no one stop solution – what ever happens, everyone will pay in many ways.