Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Our stupid government

I'm more than dismayed by the fact that once again our government are kowtowing to the idiotic generalizations of the fear mongering media and financially attacking those of our society least placed to defend themselves.

But hey - what's new there?

Obviously I'm feeling like one of the attacked - especially seeing as I've worked bloody hard to get off health benefits and into paid employment - sadly we are now financially far worse off than before and every week I still have to carefully balance my activities or risk relapsing back to the point where I can't physically do the job I've worked so bloody hard to get.

So why are we worse off do you say? At the risk of being shouted at for airing my dirty laundry in public I'll tell you.

I currently earn around £100pm more than I got on benefits but it still isn't enough to claim working tax credits - it is however enough for the powers that be to say my other half can't get any JSA, this has the knock on affect of cutting down our entitlement to housing benefit and council tax benefit - sadly a necessary boost to our income to allow us to pay rent, send elf to nursery and eat each month as well as pay for me to travel to work; if I lived back up north where rents are much lower it wouldn't matter but when rent takes up over 2/3 of my income it is a problem living here, this effectively means as a family we are now living on around £150pm LESS than we were when I was claiming ESA. Stupid huh? and it will likely get worse for us before then end of this year as my other half is trying to get his business off the ground just as I'm about to hit the academic lull and have no work for 2 months and need to claim JSA myself; it be a vicious circle people..

If I could physically handle more hours it would not be an issue but having tried more hours and having no choice but to adjust the levels of work downwards since I started in September we know that I can just about handle at most 13 classroom hours a week without it kicking off an ME/CFS attack.

So imagine my joy upon reading the Guardian to find that they will be calling people in for interviews and expecting the low paid to take on more hours or change jobs in order to stop claiming the kind of 'top up' benefits we couldn't survive without. I know that is an over simplification of what is being proposed but as usual they make these sweeping statements of what is necessary without seemingly taking into account the realities of life: where are these new jobs and extra hours coming from in a climate of recession? what if like me you are physically only able to work a certain amount of hours anyway? what if you do earn a reasonable wage but live in an area that makes it seem less reasonable because of high rent and taxes and distance needed to travel to work?

The cost of living has risen to ridiculous levels and the average wage just doesn't cover enough of that; if the government REALLY want to stop the cost of benefits to the treasury then they need to address the cost of living.

Set a basic rental level for each type of property (taking into account owner mortgage payments of course; perhaps mortgage payment +3-5% to allow for repairs etc) limit the cost of house prices by type for all new builds and perhaps start a national food store chain that allows us to buy locally sourced basics at an affordable regulated price; if it is an internet based model then we could even get vouchers delivered by email and shop online; allowing anyone to work on these for no pay but instead gain access to participating gyms equivalent to the hours worked or having the ability to get cinema/ theater tickets or other incentives

The upshot? No price changes means allowing families to budget properly instead of having to wait for sales and offers or bulk buys, just ensure each family gets vouchers that cover the weekly basics of a healthy diet, they can be spent individually or saved up and spent on a bulk buy according to the family needs - anything above the basic staples they can get from the normal supermarkets if they have the funds for it after paying for transport and utilities.

Obviously losing the stress caused by trying to just make ends meet will cut the number of people needing medical help and if those same people eat healthily then there is even less chance of them adding strain to the medical system thereby cutting NHS costs exponentially.

Once people have the basics covered then they are happier and hope is restored, that hope allows them to get on with life; people with hope are less inclined to turn to crime and happy people are less likely to turn to anti-social behaviour which means the strain on our police force would likely be reduced.

Sadly this will never happen because the government only care about the rich because that is the way the world works, the rich come to power and those in power look at the ways they can make life better for themselves and their immediate circle; yes we all want the power to do that but 98.5% of us will never have the chance and the hope of a better life is getting increasingly smaller with every year that passes.

I hate that the housing benefit I do get pays for someone else to own a home that they don't even live in and yet I can't even consider buying my own home because even though a mortgage payment would be less than my rent I can't afford to pay it without help - our entire system is designed to help the rich and it will never change.

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