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.
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.
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.
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 10:21 PM.
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 10:27 AM.
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.
Gibbo (26th January 2013)
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.
How will the jobless figures go down if there are no jobs being created?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.
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 04:48 PM.
DrCheese (26th January 2013)
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.
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 07:57 PM.
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 08:18 PM.
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.
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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