Lets Talk Benefits

UK BenefitsLast night, stemmed from a Blog Post ‘How (Not) to Survive on Benefits’ written by Nickie from Typecast, we had a Google+ Hangout talking about the UK Benefits system.  It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting but I did learn a few things.

I was hoping to chat more about people’s perceptions of people on benefits and the system.  This is not something I have a strong opinion on but did have some predisposed ideas of people on benefits and wanted to work out, through discussion, how I felt about it all.

Is abuse as wide-spread as we think?

Prior to the discussion I did a bit of research and apparently the number of fraudulent claimants are a lot less than we think.  One person, linked to the DLA said it was less than 1%.  I found this very interesting and this supports the idea that the government and media are making us blame the poor labeling them as ‘scroungers’ to justify their upcoming benefit cuts.

The working poor

I also found it very interesting that a large majority of people on benefits are people, who are in fact working, and that their wages are not enough to survive on so they need to rely on benefits  to make up this shortfall.  Jax has written an interesting post about the need to look more at the working wage.  I was stunned to hear what the minimum wage is.

As Jax said, we live in a civilized society and looking after our most vulnerable is reflective of this, I would never suggest getting rid of the benefits system, but it is there to help those genuinely in need and I do still think there is abuse.

How to encourage people back to work

Lynn made a very valuable comment, that we need to look more at child-care subsidies, I know many woman who have found that it’s not financially viable to go back to work after having kids due to the ridiculous cost of child-care.  Wouldn’t it be better to give people incentives to go back to work?  Why go back to work if you will be worse off?

But why do I feel so damn guilty about being middle class and continually found myself apologizing for the fact.  This is not to say that we’ve not had times of trouble in the past and did call on the benefit system but only for a short period, while we got back on our feet and this is how I feel it should be used.   It’s not a long-term solution bar people with illness and disabilities.

Role Models

We have worked hard to get to this point and possibly to the detriment of our daughter when she was little, I could have opted to stay at home and go on benefits but went back to work instead.   Isn’t it better to show her that working hard is the answer and not to sit back and accept hand-outs.  I grew up in a single parent house-hold with a hard-working mother that held down three jobs at times and never relied on the state or anyone else.

This is a huge topic to cover in one blog post but I would love to carry on this conversation.  What do you think?

Flickr Photo Credit Maynard

Author: mediocremum

A slightly older mum of one, who drinks far too much red wine and has an unhealthy obsession with her slow cooker. During the day she's an ICT Trainer, Social Media/Online Marketing consultant and does a bit of public speaking. Full Profile on Google+

8 thoughts on “Lets Talk Benefits”

  1. I don’t work, I have 3 boys, my husband works and we are lucky enough for him to earn enough to support us. I don’t get benefit, but we are struggling. So the youngest goes to school in September, and I can not wait to go out there and look for work. Childcare is not an option. no family to help out, and not enough £ to get it.

  2. I’m a private landlord amongst other things and I rent a property to an extremely hard working mother and her young daughter. I know for a fact that not everyone on benefits are scroungers.

    My tenant Rachel is a highly qualified head chef and she went to college to learn how to be a head chef. she receives a small amount of housing benefit which helps with her rent.
    She works for her Brother in Law who last year bought the local pub. The Cricketers Arms in Leamington Spa, a very popular venue that serves great food I might add.

    She’s not a scrounger I’m sure, although I am also acutely away that there are many others who are shall we say somewhat economical with the truth of their particular situation.
    there will always be an element of those who will try to feather their own nest at the expense of others.

    It is true that the Government are trying to get us all to believe that all benefit claimants are scroungers to justify their party line and the vast majority of people can see through this whitewash.

    The truth is that this particular Government are just a one-trick pony and come the next election in 2015 they have a lot to be worried about from UKIP, who whilst they probably won’t win on their own, they will take a lot of votes away from all of the major parties.
    Osbourne’s recent comments are an absolute disgrace as he tried to use the tragic Philpott case as meat to support their benefit cuts. After all the kids were not to blame for what their parents did, benefit claimants or not.

    Benefits should be there for people who need them or are we such an uncaring society that we should leave everyone to starve ?

    If you notice recently all three parties are claiming that UKIP do not represent a threat. In reality of course this means that they are and are running scared. This is precisely why they are doing “Character Assassinations” on Nigel Farage, these will increase as the time draws near. Watch all of the papers and ask yourself why Mr Farage was having dinner with Mr Murdoch the other week. The answer is obvious, Mr Murdoch sees Mr Farage as a real and present threat to all three of the traditional parties.

    Since he controls a lot of public opinion via his newspaper empire it is not difficult to see what is likely to happen. I’ll tell you now that all three parties will poll far less votes in 2015 that they have in previous years.

    The truth is that Cameron would not be in No.10 if it were not for Nick Clegg and whilst coalitions are historically peaceful Governments there will be a shakeup in 2015.

  3. I am disabled, I worked for 25+ years with this medical condition until it got to a stage where working was impossible and causing me too much harm. What I would like to say is all this rhetoric that this government and media have aimed at everyone on benefits has caused fear and stress to me personally. The fraud rate is very low but we are all being targeted, hate crime against sick & disabled has risen alarmingly. It’s a very clever ploy of divide and rule that makes a section of our society second class citizens. I keep waiting for my fellow man to sit up and take notice, maybe at last some of them are?

    1. The thought of not having a benefit system terrifies me. It is designed for people exactly like you who need it. It is very sad that they are dividing society and pinning us against each other. We’re all in this together!

      1. Lets just fro fun look at what would be required in order to get rid of a benefits system.
        First of all we’d have to get rid of all the disabled and sick people. To this we’d have to practice Eugenics, just like Hitler did as “The Final Solution”

        Next we have to control the population, like they do in parts of China. So we’d have a one child ruile.

        Next we’d have too send all the immiigrants home, since they generally have it very cushy when they get here. You never seem to find them satying in France or Germany or Spain. They always seem to head for ther UK – funny that.

        Then we’d have to create 100% full employment, I’d love to see anyoplitician do this.

        Lastly when someone reached beyond working age they would automatically be exterminated as no longer being any use to society.

        Like I said this was purely a bit of fun, so please do not get too upset !

  4. A very relevant post to me at this moment as its about time for my maternity leave to finish & I should be going back to work. I’d like to go back to work too however, the amount I have to earn just to cover Childcare pretty much makes going back near impossible. I have to bring home a minimum of £750 per month on a three day per week job, just to cover Childcare. Which means a salary of around £20k just to cover costs & that doesn’t include getting there even. We don’t have family locally to help with Childcare, but I worked out the other day that we could rent my parents a small flat near by for less than than paying Childcare costs. Now that is mad!!

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