The IDS £53 bandwagon and the legacy of the Thatcher years

Seems I am not the only one blogging or bragging about being able to live on £53 a week. Just read this article in the Express and Star. Hmmm I don’t think he really gets it. Blagging meals from parents and not counting the cost of living on leftovers. Or taking bills etc into account. Ah well, if it sells papers. In the old days they would be tomorrows chip paper, but there are rules about that sort of thing now.

Poor man he had to downshift from Waitrose to Aldi. I feel his pain, I really do.

As I mentioned yesterday I needed to look at how much all my other expenses are and I am shocked. £170 per week. That is with mortgage, gas, electric, water, household insurance and car insurance, cable, phone and internet. I have not even factored in the cost of having a car serviced and MOT’d. I can’t see any way of cutting back except that the cable and internet would have to be considered a luxury. I couldn’t afford to go out to see a film and I couldn’t watch the telly box. If I got rid of the cable service I would have to have a free view box or something to continue to be able to watch any tv. I can get free internet at the library (while we still have them) or at a cafe, although I would have to buy a coffee of course.

That £170 divided by three adults is £56.67 each. so if we were all on Job Seekers Allowance for instance this is what our income would be:

Contribution-based JSA

You can only get contribution-based JSA for 182 days (approximately 6 months). After this, you may be able to get income-based JSA.

Age Weekly amount
16 to 24 £56.80
25 or over £71.70

A household income of just over £200.

or this

Income-based JSA

Status Weekly amount
Single (under 25) £56.80
Single (25 or over) £71.70
Couples (both aged 18 or over) £112.55
Lone parent (18 or over) £71.70
Lone parent (under 18) £56.80

Given those figures the car would have to go and we would have to live on nasty sausages, plastic bread and lentils. I may have to steal from supermarket bins. My only entertainment would be books (thank goodness for the library) and because we couldn’t afford to heat the house it would be bed by 8pm.

How could you even afford clothes? What would happen if you had an interview and didn’t have a suit?

We wouldn’t have to pay council tax, but as we have a mortgage we wouldn’t get housing benefit. There may be other benefits we could claim, yet from this month a Benefit Cap is being introduced:

The level of the cap will be:

  • £500 a week for couples (with or without children living with them)
  • £500 a week for single parents whose children live with them
  • £350 a week for single adults who don’t have children, or whose children don’t live with them

More information about benefits can be found here.

So Iain Duncan Smith, I would love to see you and your wife living on £500 per week, but then you don’t pay a mortgage or rent a house, because you married a rich mans daughter. You get paid much more than the minimum wage and claim more in expenses than most people earn.

What happens if we all eventually get a job and are only offered the minimum wage?

The National Minimum Wage rate per hour depends on your age and whether you’re an apprentice – you must be at least school leaving age to get it.

Year 21 and over 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice*
2012 (current rate) £6.19 £4.98 £3.68 £2.65
2011 £6.08 £4.98 £3.68 £2.60
2010 £5.93 £4.92 £3.64 £2.50

How much you really need to live on? If you lost your job tomorrow what would you cut back on? Could you pay your mortgage?

This has been a very humbling and shocking experience. And I am even more cross now that the tax payers are having to pay for an overblown funeral for Margaret Thatcher,  a woman who got us into this mess in the first place. There, I have said it. I won’t watch the funeral of a millionaire who died at the Ritz. Most of us will die, like my mom did, in an NHS Ward or a smelly care home, because we can’t afford a really good one, neglected by those who were paid to care for us. Neglected because the care workers are on a minimum wage, have too many visits to make in a day and worried that they won’t be able to afford to put petrol in the car they need to do their job.

I am sure I have upset some care workers and Thatcherites. Here’s the thing. I don’t care! And neither does this government.

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This entry was posted in Community, Food, Iain Duncan Smith, Live Below the Line and tagged , , , , , , , , by Travelling Coral. Bookmark the permalink.

About Travelling Coral

I started blogging in 2011 to record some of the highlights of the round the world trip I made with my husband Phil. On the 5 month trip we visited California, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Malaysia and Thailand. We met some fantastic people, saw amazing things and ate some lovely food. Yet while enjoying these new experiences I became acutely aware of the inequality in both first and third world countries. The gap between the rich and the poor on the streets of LA and KL was the same. On my return home, I realised that this inequality existed in the UK. I had to leave the country to see it for what it was. Food banks were opening in every town and city. I read the now famous blog, A Girl Called Jack and got more interested in how food poverty impacts the lives of so many people in my home country. And I got angry. And wanted to do something about it. Now, I work for Smethwick CAN, a charity bringing people together to tackle poverty, increase aspiration, provide opportunity and support the most vulnerable. One of the projects is a foodbank. Food poverty is shocking in any country, yet over a third of edible food still ends up in landfill. No one should go hungry, yet children are going to school without breakfast. Parents are skipping meals to feed their children. Foodbanks are a sticking plaster not a cure for food poverty. So, in addition to working for a charity that is supporting people in crisis, I volunteer for The Real Junk Food Project. They intercept food that would normally be thrown away, and cook it and serve it in a Pay as You Feel Cafe. I am still adjusting to life back at home in Birmingham, England, I have terminal Farsickness. To keep it at bay, I drag my husband and sometimes the son on shorter trips both in the UK and overseas. I now post random stuff that interests me. This includes travel, food and well being. The writing keeps me sane. Long term travelling is my goal.

One thought on “The IDS £53 bandwagon and the legacy of the Thatcher years

  1. Pingback: The £53 test results are in! | travellingcoral

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