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General Chat Thread, Dear George in General; I am going to wade in here, as someone who has lived off benefits for a period of time, and ...
  1. #61

    nephilim's Avatar
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    I am going to wade in here, as someone who has lived off benefits for a period of time, and someone that has worked in some fashion over 1/2 of his life.

    OK, the benefit system from my experience is flawed, and massively so. When I lost my job, the job centre actually said my mrs and I would be better off quitting her job and claiming benefits.

    Example 1: Mrs earns 14k a year (after pro rata), I earned close to 11k. We claimed child benefit (and nothing else), and this is spent solely on food/clothes/shoes for our daughter, and not for ourselves, it goes into a separate account so we can account for every penny of it. Total coming into the house at the period of time was 25k

    Example 2: Mrs still earns 14K. I lose my job and claim JSA, council tax benefit and housing benefit. Total coming in 23k a year

    Example 3: If mrs lost/leaves her job and also claims JSA, council tax benefit, and housing benefit etc, total coming in would be 26k a year.

    Here is the issue, how is it more beneficial that when we DONT WORK we get more money (and wont be taxed on it). It is crazy. The system needs to change to allow a maximum for the following

    50 a week for housing benefit per household
    10 a week for council tax benefit per household
    20 a week for child benefit for 1st child per household
    10 a week for child benefit for 2nd child (and nothing beyond a 2nd child) per household
    70 a week for JSA/ESA per working age adult (age 18), usually 2 people.

    Total incoming per month as a maximum 664 (rounded to nearest 1) for one person with 2 kids, or 997 for 2 people with 2 kids.
    Now average expendature is roughly as follows.

    Rent 500 a month
    CTax 110 a month
    Utilities 100 a month (gas, elec, water)
    Food: 150 a month
    Total: 860...and that is before TV/Telephone/Internet, car etc etc

    It is exceedingly difficult to live off that amount and therefore would force people to look for work to make their income cover outgoings. Doing this would SAVE billions, and would force people to look for work and get off their backsides rather than sponging off the system. Also this prevents people living in houses that they cannot afford, forces the government to create more affordable housing, and would fix a large gaping hole in the benefit system.

    Those that would complain would be those that would lose out massively from living off benefits.

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  3. #62

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    The percentage of fraudulent benefit claims is very small - see here:
    Fraud and Error in the Benefit System

    And, @aerospacemango - I am middle class and I don't get "hot-under-the-collar" about such things - but then, I'm not a Daily Mail reader. Please don't tar all the middle classes with the same brush.

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    nephilim's Avatar
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    I know fraudulent claims are low, but the fact remains around 50% of the migrants that come to this country (including those from Western Europe such as Germany, Denmark, France, Spain, Italy etc) are on welfare here because it is better for them that their native country.

    Reducing the benefit amount to a feasible amount of (approximate) 9500 per person per year or 11100 per couple per year WILL make people actively seek work as it would be better for them to be working than be on benefits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    OK, the benefit system from my experience is flawed, and massively so. When I lost my job, the job centre actually said my mrs and I would be better off quitting her job and claiming benefits.
    .
    I had equally crazy things said to me when I was out of work. I'd got sick of beng in and out of work, especially with a benefit system which is too slow to work with agency/temp/contract workers. At the time I wasn't actually receiving any money as my claim was "processing", i took an IT apprentiship at 40/week and went down the job centre to sign off. My "advisor" then started accusing me of being a bum with questions such as "why don't you get a job, are you too lazy?"

    Firstly I was trying to better myself and get a career job, which I have done. She just couldn't seem to grasp that. If I had listenEd to her I'd still be in and out of work. Maybe better trained staff in job centres would be a start.

    Secondly we need a benefit system which can work faster. If you have jumped through the hopes to actually get your money and see a short term job you fancy, the system actually makes you think is it worth it? What happens when that work is finished? Do I then spend the next 6 weeks waiting for my new claim to be processed with no money and bills, which would have otherwise been covered, to pay.

    Chances are with a temp position it isn't going to pay much. So in order to save enough money to cover the 6 weeks without money you will need the position to be at least 3 months, probably much longer - so not exactly temp. That, along with the fact that a lot of people on benefits actually "earn" more on the dole, creates the benefits trap. One which my dad, as an ageing scaffolder, got stuck in.

    The system needs to go back to what it was originally designed for, to help out people in their time of need, not as a way of life (through choice or otherwise).
    Last edited by j17sparky; 25th January 2013 at 09:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky View Post
    The system needs to go back to what it was originally designed for, to help out people in their time of need, not as a way of life (through choice or otherwise).
    The problem with this is you are trying to stop people choosing something as a way of life. Some people choose not to work and to live a life of Riley on the streets. They drink every day, party late into every night and take the cardboard that was bought by hard working tax payers and sleep in it!! Given that some people choose to do that, it's not surprising that some will choose to live on benefits. Can any system stop such choices? Possibly, but it strikes me it would be draconian and a breeding ground for bureaucratic fascists. How do you prove to someone that it is not your choice to be out of work?

    All systems have waste. IMO a system without waste is indicative of a system with issues. In schools we often complain that money was spent on X and they now lie unused in some cupboard. That's not necessarily a bad thing. A school without any waste would be one which is never pushing the boundaries and innovating. Failure is a natural outcome of trying.

    The benefits system is designed to help people from falling into absolute poverty. It has to be simple enough that individual people can (have a hope of) comprehend it yet it has to service millions of individual and unique circumstances. Such systems will always have waste, never perfectly cater to all and will be exploited by the 'lazy' and those who would perpetrate fraud. I think you can do something about fraud - the 'lazy' are more problematic.

    Perhaps patronisingly I wouldn't even say laziness is the main problem of those people. They lack aspiration. They are undereducated. They lack self belief. I see the Daily Mail type rants attack people who have no aspirations beyond sitting in a damp flat watching daytime TV. Politicians would have me believe that I should want to deprive them even of that because they lack any aspiration to do 'better'. The reality is there are relatively few of them (those unemployed over two years number under 500K and those claiming benefits for over 5 years number under 5,000 (source). The benefits system has to service nearly 2.5 million people without work - are we really going to turn it upside down to prevent people choosing a "life on benefits"? Isn't that the tail wagging the dog?

    Still, those 5000 long term under educated folks with no aspirations are excellent targets for the politicians and do seem to keep people distracted from the real problems. Rich tax avoiders fight back. 'Benefits Scroungers' never do.
    Last edited by pcstru; 26th January 2013 at 09:27 AM.

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    Yes it is designed to stop people going into absolute poverty, but it actually provides people that play the system with a better income than hardworking and honest people.

    Remove the high cap and instigate the figures I put in, you'll soon find the jobless figure drops down as living off the figures I wrote up is practically impossible. There should also be a reward system for telling the HMRC about people that commit benefit fraud. Why? Well if there was incentive to reduce the number of fraudulent claims, then people would tell on friends/family/acquantances playing the system, and it should be payable only on proof of benefit fraud, not just the phone call.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mattx View Post
    4 pages in and no one has even mentioned Hitler. I'm inpressed.

    Well, you're the professional troll. Why don't you do it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    Yes it is designed to stop people going into absolute poverty, but it actually provides people that play the system with a better income than hardworking and honest people.
    I think you missed out "than hard working and honest but actually quite poor people"

    I find it a bit depressing that the reaction to people getting more in benefits at the margins than people who work is a cry for "lower benefits". I never seem to see "higher wages" suggested - yet it would sort out the problem equally well and it would have the advantage that I - a taxpayer - would not then be subsidising employers who can get away with paying a wage no one can live on, simply because the state will step in and make up the difference.


    Remove the high cap and instigate the figures I put in, you'll soon find the jobless figure drops down as living off the figures I wrote up is practically impossible.
    How will the jobless figures go down if there are no jobs being created?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sdrawkcab View Post
    Tory/right-wing/this-government-aint-so-bad people: How about you actually respond to the points raised in the arguments instead of finger pointing at the previous establishment? Whatever you might think Labour did, they aren't in power now. Playing the blame game isn't going to solve anything, and nor are ol' Georgies current policies. The sooner we can agree on that the sooner we'll see a proper alternative presented (like maybe getting companies like Vodafone to pay their tax? naaaaaaaah)
    But what we DO need to look at is the reckless spending under Labour.

    What did they inherit back in 1997? Did they inherit IT projects who's costs had been inflated out of proportion to the original quotes? Did they inherit a BSF scheme where consultants were paid thousands a day and schools looking more like shopping centres which cost a fortune to heat in winter and a fortune to cool in summer rather than a more traditional design, or kitted out with extravagant kit? Bexley Academy for example?

    Did they inherit an ID card system that ballooned out of control and was despised by all? Did they inherit an extremely costly war in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    So, forgive us for blaming the previous government, but they blew all the money far more recklessly than the Tories ever did, much of it in sweetners to the public to stay in power.
    Last edited by Gibbo; 26th January 2013 at 03:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nephilim View Post
    Yes it is designed to stop people going into absolute poverty, but it actually provides people that play the system with a better income than hardworking and honest people.
    If there is a system, it will be gamed. Happens at both ends, and in the middle too.

    I believe that a summary of this thread can be presented thus by transposing Gove for Osborne. That link might expire.... and you need to be a grown up to apreciate its subtley. Don't go there if you can't handle the truth.. or you are connected to a projector - the arguement is nuanced.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    Perhaps patronisingly I wouldn't even say laziness is the main problem of those people. They lack aspiration. They are undereducated. They lack self belief. I see the Daily Mail type rants attack people who have no aspirations beyond sitting in a damp flat watching daytime TV. Politicians would have me believe that I should want to deprive them even of that because they lack any aspiration to do 'better'. The reality is there are relatively few of them (those unemployed over two years number under 500K and those claiming benefits for over 5 years number under 5,000 Welfare reform: is benefits culture a myth? - Channel 4 News
    The problem with statistics like you quoted is the goalposts have been moved a lot in the last 20 years. Moving people off JSA and onto a benefit of another name creates the illusion that less people are claiming benefits. Also you need to have been paying your stamp for 2 years in order to qualify for JSA, meaning the true scroungers don't appear in those figures at all.

    Look at the graph on the following link. As you can see in the early 90s almost everyone who was recorded as out of work also claimed JSA. Then look at the difference between unemployed and claimants now.

    BBC News - Economy tracker: Unemployment

    Also see http://www.economicshelp.org/macroec...mployment.html
    Last edited by j17sparky; 26th January 2013 at 06:57 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky View Post
    The problem with statistics like you quoted is the goalposts have been moved a lot in the last 20 years. Moving people off JSA and onto a benefit of another name creates the illusion that less people are claiming benefits.

    Look at the graph on the following link. As you can see in the early 90s almost everyone who was recorded as out of work also claimed JSA. Then look at the difference between unemployed and claimants now.

    BBC News - Economy tracker: Unemployment

    Also see Measuring Unemployment in the UK | Economics Help
    I'm sure the figures I pluck out of the internet are wrong - but at least we have some numbers to argue about rather than anecdote. Your figures don't even attempt to qualify the number of long term jobless (those choosing benefits as a "way of life").

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    I didn't say they did. I was simply using them as a way of demonstrating that comparing JSA claimants figures between then and now is flawed.

    I would love to give you figures but the whole point in moving the goalposts is to decieve the public, and that wouldn't be very effective if all the relevant information wad readily available.

    One of the criteria of claiming JSA is that the person must be actively seeking employment. A single mum spewing out an endless line of bstard children is not going to fit that criteria, therefore not get counted in the figures even though she is on one benefit or another for many years. This type of person is exactly the sort we are talking about when we say "benefits as a way of life". We also know that the number of single mums is far greater than it was at any other period in our history (barring war time).
    Last edited by j17sparky; 26th January 2013 at 07:18 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by j17sparky View Post
    I didn't say they did. I was simply using them as a way of demonstrating that comparing JSA claimants figures between then and now is flawed.
    I didn't do a now and then comparison. I just cited some figures which give a sense of the number of long term (>5 years) unemployed. IMO figures are better than anecdote but I can sympathise with why you might not like to deal with actual numbers.

    In fact the figures cited on the channel 4 page give some context to that change. From 50,000 to 5000. Take your pick - even the 50,000 would be ~2% of the total counted as unemployed. The bill for that is well short of 1bn. Still, please don't get me wrong, I think we should do something about it. I just find it depressing that the most common answer seems to tend toward punishing undereducated poor people with no aspirations.

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    Re: Dear George

    Quote Originally Posted by pcstru View Post
    How will the jobless figures go down if there are no jobs being created?
    I am genuinely not sure if you are trolling or not. Everyday I look online for jobs within a 100 mile radius of my house...everyday atleast 200 jobs come fresh on those sites (includes jobseekers site, monster, jobsite etc). The jobs range from retail to office worker to constuction and everything else.

    Wages are marginally better than the benefits I admit but take into account the fact that you get working tax credits to a point which boosts the income and you are once again better off than on benefits. Higher wages will come as more people are in work, therefore spending more, thereford boosting economy, which boosts profit margins and therefore wage increases...usual cycle.

    You might think I am being niave or whatever, but I'm not. Look globally at various economies. Denmark and Germany are good examples. Cutting benefits got people acrively looking for employment, therefore increasing economy and average wages went up within 3 years by almost 15%.

    As for why I dont work...I am perfectly willing but practically housebound. I get travelsick, motion sickness, rotational vertigo along with other inner ear issues. I now have a cane for emergencies...and I am 26! Moving my head left and right causes dizzyness so yeah.

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