The number cruncher in me is confused, afraid, even horrified at the implications in this article in the media:
Election 2017: What if I can’t afford to pay the rent? (source)
Hubby and I are on a fixed income which includes my bank pension and his forces pension. I admit we do not have a mortgage, credit cards, loans, or a high rent to pay.
But even in the days when we did, the figures were not as they are now, neither did we qualify for any government benefit assistance.
I have been close to bankruptcy twice but luckily had equity in a jointly owned property which when sold, kept me solvent. However, it was not easy keeping my head above water in the interim, and I was faced with options, alternatives and getting my priorities right.
Even now, we have weeks when the money has run out and we have to ‘make do’.
Years ago, having beans on toast, or spam for that matter, as our main meal was the norm not because we were skint. Now, believe it or not, it is cheaper to buy a chicken breast than a tin of spam.
I budget for the year ahead, not the one we are currently in, which is why with the recent hikes in boating costs I was able to cover them. But this is only in the short-term, and by drawing on funds allocated elsewhere, replacing them would have been hard.
I will not borrow what I do not have. Been there, done that, got into financial difficulty, won’t do it again kind of thing. Yet so many people today seem to have no choice.
According to the article:
Rent and council tax drain £1057 a month from a salary of £1500.
Add to that heating/electricity, water and a phone, there’s not much left over for food and it’s not said about running a car which brings its own set of bills before putting fuel in it in the way of insurance, road tax and MOT.
MSM, Hubby and I have been discussing it today, each with our own thoughts and interpretation, but whichever way you look at it, it all comes down to priorities, and emphasises how some people may have no idea how to budget to their means.
I remember getting my back up over some prat rambling on saying he couldn’t manage on his salary…………. of £125, 000 a year.
A lad I worked with was on a thousand pounds a year less than I, but his fiancée was earning ten thousand a year more, yet they had no savings and were renting their flat at £720 a month.
Compared to our then mortgage of £400 a month on a £40k debt, that was a lot.
And we mustn’t forget IDS with his boast of living on £50 a week (‘mad’ money that is).
Who is to blame?
Those trying to live, those who have overspent, or those who are just clueless?
Where is the logic in being penalised for working and earning an ‘honest crust’ when for some it is financially better to not work at all and claim State benefits.
Why should a qualified person be earning a mere twenty five pence an hour more than their assistant since the compulsory minimum/living wage, an assistant who also claims benefits which are in jeopardy should they do so much as half an hour’s overtime? This puts an addition strain on the professional who, chances are, are not paid overtime at all.
Lovely to have a ‘living wage’ (link), but where, and how, can you live on what is suggested? In paying it, employers are probably unable to reward their experienced staff in their pocket. Add to that there are now compulsory Pension Schemes in the work place, so the pound in wages is reducing but living costs are not.
Also, how many hours a week are used to calculate an acceptable standard of living? I was paid for 35 hours, so this would equate to just over £15000 a year, less taxes, on the living wage.
If there were two of you in the household earning around the same, then £30K pa even after tax, would go a long way.
But how many of our work force are part timers due to family commitments? What about child minding costs, especially for single parents?
The Government are trying to cut the Welfare Bill but still targeting the needy: ie disabled, elderly and unemployed by moving goalposts, restricting access or changing the criteria for claims in the first place.
It is indeed worrying times, and unlikely to improve whoever gets in after next month’s election.
You might be interested in this analysis (not mine), but bear in mind the ‘current figure’ is ten years ago. Note too that the gross household income in 2007 is considerably more than the living wage offered today.