Big Benefits Row

Ok have just tried to watch the #BigBenefitsRow. I know many others on twitter and other social media have done the same.

I make no secret of my physical ill health and disability nor my mental illness. I refuse to hide it because it’s part of me and I believe in honesty.

I am on benefits, no I don’t like it, yes I’d love to be well enough to get back into work. I do apply for jobs still, I do have a lot to offer but being realistic my health issues make it basically impossible for any employer to give me a chance unless I could do it all from home at times to suit me and my illness/medication.

I like many others want to feel useful and not surplus to societies requirements. I am able and do try to help people via e-mail, telephone, at times to suit me. It pays nothing but i do get that glow of satisfaction that I’ve helped make life a little better for another person or family.

Some people can’t do what I can for many reasons, they do feel down, it can lead to a spiral of depression this is one of the mental issues people want to talk about & get help via sorts of talking therapies such Psychotherapy. Alas access to good mental health help varies throughout the country. With help being so sporadic & ranging from great to being put on a waiting list for years! Surely it is better to treat the person via immediately accessible mental health services then they would be able to get well, have the help and return to some work slowly and eventually they would be able to work full time and not be reliant on benefits. All of these approaches must have a caveat, some people with all the help possible are simply not able to cope in the world of work. So this will work for some but not all.

I am all for working if you are able bodied and not suffering from a severe or mental illness. We have read and seen how people in a coma, in severe kidney failure and on dialysis, people who have had strokes, brain tumours etc who are told they are fit for work because they can lift an empty cardboard box, put a pen in their top pocket and hold a 2litre milk carton. This does not take into account the way the illness/disease actually prevents them from being available to work for certain amounts of time etc.

Yes there are some people who do abuse the system, yes there are some who pretend to be single parents when they have their partner live with them. This is because the rules make it financially beneficial to be “a single parent” rather than valuing marriage, cohabitation etc which is really the best for any kids to live in a two parent family.

Some people are told at the Job Centre they will be worse off by £x.xx if they take this or that job. That is wrong and people should be better off in work than on benefits. However, when we take a view of it like “if I take this job I will lose out on time with my child, most money will go on childcare, the cost of travel to work, and with all taken in to account I will be £3 per week worse or better off”

In the above scenario you will get many people who would rather be in work and will take it because being on benefits and not having a routine, a place to be, a reason to get up and get outside can leave a person really isolated. There are more than just money that is gained when a person takes employment. These other really positive aspects aren’t discussed. I humbly suggest they are.

I think people are brassed off with those people, small minority, who have never worked and seem to have a much nicer lifestyle than the person working on minimum wage. It can get vey upsetting and it can be irksome.

However, those people may have “invisible” health conditions that mean they cannot work, again this aspect is overlooked in any discussions.

I had until I got sick, 5 years or so ago, I had always worked and or been in education. I am only just coming to terms with the steep decline of my health and it’s still no fun and I don’t like being in this position. I’d give anything to be able to control my illness (there is no cure) so that I could maybe work part time. I know lots of others I a very similar situation.

There is no easy answer to this but I do feel that putting pensions into the same calculation does give a very warped view of the money spent on benefits. Maybe it would be helpful if the costs were put into their respective headings. It may help.

We have had a really terrible down turn, recession, double dip recession and during that time many thousands of people have lost their jobs, in some areas they have found it almost impossible to find any other job. Lots of people have moved to find work. Many cannot due to children being in eduction at a critical time such as SATS, GCSE’S or at College undertaking education or training.

Anyway remember 99% of people who are out of work, wish they were in work. We have graduates on the checkout at supermarkets, alas this is a state of the employment market BUT I respect everybody who takes a job they are vastly over qualified for because they would rather have some money coming in rather than being on benefits.

Benefits street as a programme focused on such a tiny microcosm that is it impossible to to actually use that as an example of the norm for all those who are out of work and claiming benefits.

Maybe there should be a programme on showing how hard many people try to get a job, any job. Showing the people who send off vast numbers of applications per day yet don’t even get an email/letter/phone call back to acknowledge their application or to say thanks but no thanks.

Most of all you must for the most part think “There but for the grace of god go I” because sadly illness and injury can change your life over night.

Well that’s my 2p’s worth if it’s worth anything at all?

Is the economy picking up? No the a Deficit is Rising Every more Highly!

Below is an Extract from The Times: it makes very interesting reading. The past few weeks we have been told how the Housing Market is picking up even at first time buyer levels.

The books are starting to balance and the deficit is reducing. The deficit is a humongous debt! To measure it they see what money has come in & compare it to how much they borrow! The national Debt is therefore growing.

All of these things aren’t explained to the people. The Political big wigs use their jargon & quite frankly huge dollops of BS to hoodwink us into thinking times are changing! Funny it happens in the final 7 weeks to an election?

The truth is what the Treasury gets in from our combined taxes is amount A. The amount borrowed every month/quarter is B so if in March the country took more in under A then the need to borrow less B = deficit shrinking!

It’s an odd one I grant you so look it it as this;

A = tax revenue paid in;
B = amount borrowed (Deficit)
C = amount needed to pay Bills
D = the interest added to B
E = the money owed by the country.

We only ever hear about A and B – the deficit but we never hear anything of C, D or E! Why not? they don’t want us to know how big the debt it is .

So every month that passes it really is the case the the money paid out is more than what we take in as tax.

In any Business this would honestly be a mega shambles & the business would go bust. It’s that simple & we are not told the truth in plain, easy language. Instead thy use 500 words that mean beggar all & keep up the pretence!

So remember when they talk about the deficit reducing it isn’t the full story! It may appear smaller than that of the previous months BUT it does not mean the country is actually getting back on its feet!

Below as promised the article from the times. If anyone has any questions please just ask.

Please note the pictures aren’t very exciting but I think you’ll see a huge difference from the previous Chancellors and Mr Osborne’s now. Happy reading 😉⭐️♿️

National current account slides deeper into deficit

Saturday 29th March 2014

Britain’s ability to pay its way in the world has hit an all-time low, raising fresh fears for the economy despite signs that its long-awaited rebalancing towards investment and trade has begun.
The country’s current account slumped to a record deficit at the end of last year as income on British investments overseas crashed. Economists said that the decline could put the pound under pressure and sap growth over the longer term.
The Office for National Statistics revealed that the deficit in the final three months of 2013 was 5.4 per cent of GDP as it revised down its third-quarter estimate to 5.6 per cent, making them the worst two quarters on record.
Analysts blamed decline on the appreciation of sterling and slow growth in economies where the UK is invested, such as the eurozone.
The deterioration was all on the income side of the account as the trade deficit narrowed from 2.5 per cent to 1.4 per cent between the third and fourth quarters. For 2013, the current account deficit was 4.4 per cent, the worst since the peak of the 1989 boom.
To balance the books, Britain has become increasingly reliant on huge financial inflows from overseas, which Samuel Tombs, of Capital Economics, said were fuelling “existing concerns that the UK’s recovery is too dependent on unsustainable sources”.
Foreign purchases
of UK shares, companies and houses in London, as well as other investments last year, offset the £71 billion paid in dividends and profits paid from Britain to overseas.
Rob Wood, an economist at Berenberg Bank, warned that Britain was “storing up big problems for the future” and said that authorities may need to “aim for slower domestic growth in order to erode the imbalances that are building up”.
Simon Wells, UK economist at HSBC, said: “If the income account continues to deteriorate, the UK could find it harder to sustain its persistent trade deficit. Eventually, this could mean that lower sterling and slower growth may be needed.”
Despite mounting longer-term fears about the current account, the immediate economic outlook appeared to improve. The ONS confirmed that the economy had grown by 0.7 per cent in its third estimate of growth for the final three months of last year, but the details showed that trade and investment were the two largest contributors.
Trade added 1 per cent to growth and investment 0.3 per cent, compared with household consumption, which contributed 0.2 per cent. That was offset by a 0.8 per cent decline in inventories.
“It is good news that growth was better balanced in the fourth quarter, with a fall in the trade deficit and an increase in business investment,” David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, said.
The profitability of companies also improved, rising 5.4 per cent in the quarter and 4.8 per cent compared with last year.
The Chancellor is pinning his hopes for the recovery on businesses finally spending on new facilities, equipment and research to boost the real economy. The ONS revised its estimate of annual business investment in the fourth quarter from 8.5 per cent to 8.7 per cent.
“The detailed data revisions were favourable,” Mr Wood said. “The contribution of inventories was lowered considerably and net trade is now estimated to have bounced back from the disastrous third-quarter performance. Together that suggests less risk to growth through 2014.”

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Don’t let the loan sharks bite this Christmas

It’s barely 12 days to the big day in the festive calendar. Christmas is about showing & giving love to your friends & family.

We all feel the pressure to buy our loved ones the best we can afford and for many of us we will feel the pull of the Legal & Illegal Loan Sharks. They are called sharks for a reason so steer clear of them.

Here are a few ideas to give you some help or inspiration. Please forgive me if I’m a little bit too late for this year but these are tips to use all year round. My family live on a very tight budget so I’m preaching what I practice.

1) your kid needs a laptop/computer to do their school work. Don’t buy a brand new one. Visit sites like Amazon, Currys, PC World etc, don’t just look at the clearance lines but check the refurbished items.
For example I was looking on Amazon, typed in Refurbished Laptop – a great list came up. I looked at a good number but the best ones to actually buy have a 3 to 6 month guarantee with them. There maybe a few scratches here & there but the same item maybe over £400 new but only £130 refurbished. Your kid won’t mind as long as they’ve got what they need. This principle can be used for almost every electrical appliance.

2) Money is usually tight all year round but if you can from February onwards check the discounts from the likes of Studio 24. In February you can pick up sale items for a wide range of items but at such a low price you can manage to again get high quality gifts with upto 90% off!
I usually buy pyjamas for my younger family members just buy them for a year or two older than they are at the time. Same for any other clothing.
I don’t recommend it for shoes unless you need them there and then because kids have a habit of not growing according to charts.

3) It’s not easy but if you can do it either;
a) put all your lose change into a savings jar & then every month buy a gift with it or
b) put it in the bank, PostOffice or even a Christmas club so that you save up for Christmas and/or other event. If you try doing the saving in this way it never seems quite so painful.
c) join a Credit Union & pay in what you can & if you need to borrow etc then you can do so without any fear or worry.

As my Nana used to say “take care of the pennies & the pounds will take care of themselves.

4) Use EBay and search for specific things or general by using the search term unwanted gift. Use your common sense on this & don’t buy expensive items. (Chap didn’t read the description properly, thought he had bought his kid a new Playstation or Xbox it was only a photo of the gaming device not the actual machine).

5) Set a limit on what you will spend on each person. By looking all year round you can get some lovely things rather in-expensively.
(EBay job lots are cracking for this but as ever always read the description carefully as you may think you are bidding on half a dozen bath bombs but it’s only going to be 1 actually sent not the 6 shown in the photo)
You can get a number of these and make your own little gift set.

6) Make the gift from the scratch, papier-mâché models, knitted clothing, Christmas door wreaths (these can be made so cheaply, buy the ring but then forage for the holly, pine cones, chest nuts, acorns & check what you’ve got in your Christmas decoration boxes).

7) Do Not Feel Pressured Into Debt to give your family everything on their wish list.
Being a good parent is about giving them what they need & not always what they want. My kids have asked for Lego (buy it on EBay 2nd hand job lot – wash in Bleach to ensure germ free) to a Pony (again a rocking horse that you can clean over & give them)

Little kids aren’t bothered if it comes on a cornflake box or just simply wrapped with a few black bin liners. Kids don’t care for the packaging, unless it’s big boxes then the toys you’ve bought are redundant as we all know kids love the boxes more!

Older kids can be given the blunt truth that you will only buy them what you can afford. Always get 2nd hand bikes it saves a fortune.

I’ve always tended to try to give my lot the best gifts they want for birthdays. That way Christmas is not so daunting because you only have one child to buy for.

Maybe this is a bit late to share this year but if you get into the habit from January onwards you can have loads of expensive gifts that actually didn’t cost you anywhere near the normal price.

Finally get yourself signed up for Groupon, they have some amazing things at massively reduced prices. You usually get an e-mail every day or two (depending on what they have) the discounts can be son fab it’s worth a good look. Read all the details before buying as there are sometimes conditions etc.

So there you go, that’s my way of coping & I manage to stay out of debt (occasionally a little overdrawn) especially with these TV Quick Loans or Loan Sharks steer clear because the interest is crippling when borrowing in this way. Find out if you have a credit union in your area. If so then all the saved pennies from your purse//wallet is safely put away month after month & should you need a loan then use the Credit Union because their interest rates will a a few percent NOT a few thousand percent.

I hope this helps but always remember that your family would rather a) have nothing (older relatives), b) will wait for their birthday, c) not in debt.

A homemade gift is often lovely & means more that something you’ve bought.

Merry Christmas & use your imagination you’ll be surprised at how much people love what you’ve made because to make things shows you’ve put love & care as the special unique ingredients.

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Irresponsible Personal Borrowing

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mum-benefits-left-3000-debt-2959223

I read the above with much consternation. Why on earth has she borrowed all this money?

She has 2 kids, aged 8 & 3. The 3 year old would be happy with a few 2nd hand toys & loads of cardboard boxes. The older boy only needed 1 big present which to be honest could have had a 2nd hand bike!

It’s people like this who put their kids into poverty and for what? Those kids will go without for the whole of next year.

Great presents aren’t any use if kids are starving or she can’t afford to pay electricity bill. What on earth does a 3 year old need a TV/DVD player for? It’s crazy & unnecessary. It’s all been bought on expensive credit which to me is even more stupid!

The kids will remember, eventually, and then they too will follow suit! It’s the wrong kind of example and she isn’t giving the children the correct life lessons to aid them in the future.

I know we all want our kids to have the things we didn’t but there are limits. I have 3 children there are around 4 years between each one. Christmas has always been expensive but I’d buy stuff in sales & hide it away. I still do that even though my eldest kids have left home. No body got a big expensive present at Christmas what I did was to make a bigger fuss at birthdays because it meant there was respite between each birthday to save again.

My youngest lad decided he wanted a new TV. I refused to buy one because there were decent enough ones he could access. So he saved his Christmas & Birthday money (his birthday is 10th January) and bought his own TV.

I’ve never bought “named/labelled” items of clothing. They had what I felt was appropriate & would be very smart but on a budget.

Even when there is little money you can shop around and find bargains to stow away.

This woman borrowed £1,700 knowing her whole income for the next year (or indeed more) would suffer for it! She has no idea of budgeting, no comprehension of the concept of living within within her means.

If she’d have put away a few pounds every week she could have got the bikes on e-bay or Amazon – refurbished & at half the price.

It really doesn’t make any logical sense to do what she’s done and when she’s no money for food in the coming months will she then travel to a foodbank because she has got a voucher from her social worker, GP or whomever?

I honestly understand wanting to give your kids the best BUT you give them the best you can afford not what you can borrow!

Even this year my youngest has had refurbished items which I have bought for less than half the price of new. I have to do that because he’d never get these things otherwise. I hasten to add that the items he’s got are going to be helpful to his education as he’s doing GCSE’s now.

My hubby & I don’t have money to burn and neither does this woman. £3,000 debt for one Christmas is totally irresponsible.

I’m not sure how these sorts of lenders work but from the info I have gleaned from various sources would indicate that you needn’t be in work to get a PayDay Loan. An oxymoron if ever there was one. How do you get a payday loan if your payday is based on out of work benefits?

Why are there no checks to see what level of debt you’re in already? Suppose that is easily bypassed if you apply for each of these pay day loans on the same day & thus the records wouldn’t be updated until the next day there would be no records to check.

Just as I was writing this blog I received a text:

www.justlendcash.co.uk We dont look at past credit history, as long as it is affordable for you now. Come and build a new history with us. 2 opt out reply END

I have not given my number to any of these companies so why are they contacting me unsolicited?

I’m not going to reply to the text, I have deleted it. However, with companies sending such texts & bombarding people with the offer of credit then at weaker moments some may just give in.

I thought this sort of lending was illegal as is people coming to your door offering you a loan? Maybe the Consumer Credit Act has changed?

Anyway what do you think of this lady & hundreds of thousands of others like her who have borrowed heavily & irresponsibly just to buy things their kids don’t need!

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