Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Price Of Living

Imagine if you will, that I'm out of a job. Let's face it, when my work discover just how little I do on a daily basis it's only a matter of time.

I might be able to claim some benefits while I look for a job. That's how a welfare state works, it supports you in your time of need. It's what we pay our National Insurance contributions for, after all.

These benefits are set at a level that the state determines as the minimum I need to be able to exist. Not live, not to maintain my current standard of living, just to survive from day to day on the basic necessities. If I'm renting a house, I might get help with some or all of the cost of my rent so my unemployment doesn't render me homeless.

When I was working, if I thought I wasn't getting properly remunerated for the work I did or I needed more money to cover rising costs, I could go ask my boss for a raise or go look for another job elsewhere.

While I'm looking for work, my benefits will go up once a year. They used to go up in line with inflation. After all, if I'm on the very minimum I need to survive and the things I need to buy go up in price, benefits need to go up at the same rate or I won't be able to afford even basic necessities like food and heating.

At least that's the way it used to work. Now my benefits are going to be capped so they only go up by 1% per year. So when the gas company puts its prices up 5%, or the price of milk goes up by 5% I'm going to be left behind. The amount I get will no longer be enough to cover the cost of the things I need to survive.

As if that's not bad enough, my landlord tells me that the money I get paid towards my rent is going to go down as there is going to be a cap based on what size of property you live in. So I've either got to find some more money from my benefits to put towards it, or find somewhere else to live.

Course, because I'm on benefits I can't afford to put a bond together, or find a month's rent in advance for another place. Nobody is going to offer me a mortgage to buy somewhere The council won't consider me a priority case until I actually get made homeless, so I'm stuck in limbo.

I've applied for a load of jobs, but some of them pay so poorly that it will barely cover the extra rent and council tax I'll have to pay once my benefits stop. Either that, or they are short term contracts that will just mean I'm back where I started again in three months. Nobody seems to be offering "proper" jobs any more, ones that are likely to last and have some prospects to them.

According to the Government, I'm a "skiver" rather than a "striver". I'm what's wrong with the country. I'm the reason we're in this mess - together, apparently.

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the reality of life for those in Britain on benefits. Demonised, belittled and now it seems, starved into submission by a coalition of the heartless. I hope you enjoy reaping what those of you who voted Tory and Lib Dem sowed.

1 comment:

John_D said...


"This ends a something-for-nothing culture". When last I was made redundant, my 13 years of employment history, of subscription to society, entitled me to 6 months at £65 a week. After that, bugger ye.

If you want an example of a something-for-nothing culture, look somewhere other than the unemployed.