POLL: Are we better-off in work?


The European Union has told David Cameron that, since the UK has record numbers of people in work and the British economy is said to be doing so much better than any other EU country (0.7 per cent improvement in the last quarter alone), his government needs to pay more into the EU membership pot.

Cameron has responded like a spoilt child who has been told to pay for something rather than being given it on a platter. He reckons the EU is out of order. But is it merely calling his bluff?

If so many more of us are in work, then logically – and this is what the Europeans clearly believe – the UK tax take must be higher. In fact it is lower. Productivity has hardly changed at all. But the very rich are twice as rich now as they were in 2009-10.

In such circumstances, it seems illogical even to have to ask where the money is going – but it does seem a good time to test one of the Conservative Party’s principle claims; that people are better-off in work.

This poll is just for those of you with jobs. We’ll confine answers to a choice between ‘yes’ and ‘no’; you ought to know whether you’ve got more money or not.

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28 thoughts on “POLL: Are we better-off in work?

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        So you’re better-off in work because you don’t have to put up with bullying from Job Centre staff?

      2. Neo-Pelagius

        Yes in my particular circumstances anything is better than JSA both financially and for the sake of my self-esteem. When universal credit is introduced I think advisors may become a bit more of a hassle for those on in-work benefits too. As it happens I am much better off in work than on benefits anyway and for some unknown reason my earnings have never been better than since 2008!? The spectre of the jobcentre constantly haunts me though.

  1. Free Cat

    Simple yes/no questions on a biased blog will not get you a fair balanced answer. Although I would I reckon no would win it, I think the reality is far closer than people want to accept.

    Let me assure you first that traditionally I’m centre-left, not right wing. I have no particular bent to any party, I just vote for the party closest aligned to my morals at election time. Since I’ve been able to vote, that’s been Labour, Labour, Tory.

    I’m far better off in work under this government than I ever was under Labour. I’m a single male with his own car who earns a shade under £20k a year. I appreciate the impact on other services such as the NHS and police but this government has done a lot more for how I earn and what I need to earn it.

    It’s crazy to assume, as a lot of the “Occupy” movements and left-wingers do, that all lower class to middle class workers haven’t benefitted from the tax changes.

    I would largely put this down to the Lib Dem contribution than the Tories though. It all just depends on your other life circumstances – families get a bad deal, pensioners get a good deal, full-time urban grunts like myself get something in between, and anyone in the public sector gets sh*t on routinely.

    It’s frustrating to me though, that when I was earning £15-17k, I had large chunks of my income taken away by the “party for the people” with no support whatsoever to get my own place, and I now find myself on £19k and taking more of that home than before, now with my own car and own apartment that I could only afford under this batsh*t crazy coalition and their tax cuts and help-to-buy schemes. What are you supposed to think in these times of trippy politics – that I was wrong and should be shot for voting for the collection of miscreants who’ve improved my quality of life? When I read the kind of posts from blogs like this I wind up feeling very marginalized.

    A sea change is needed but it cannot be achieved under Labour – it needs a government who aren’t actually afraid to assert some kind of control over businesses and individuals who seek to exploit rather than contribute. Everyone needs to make money, but there’s a lot to be said about a so-far untested theory of “social capitalism” rather than the current exploitative, “quick-we-need-increased-GDP-urgently” rendition.

    Capitalists and socialists need to work together. Just my two pennies, as a centrist!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      A “biased blog”? All political blogs reflect the opinions of their authors but that does not mean the readers are the same. Did you not know that The Sun‘s huge readership was sustained for many years by left-wing readers who bought the rag because its slavishly right-wing attitude prompted them to argue against it?

      If you reckon you’re Centre-Left and you’ve voted Tory, then you’re lying to yourself. I find it very hard to give credence to your claims as a result of that.

      1. Free Cat

        And why should you? You don’t know me from anyone else. I don’t really care what you think about my claims either. Just saying where I am in life today. Believe it or not, but I find it pretty disappointing you’re not willing to debate any of those points either.

        Every opinion poll is biased too which is why they are completely worthless. Unless you statistically analyse the vote of everyone making one, then the end stat is pointless.

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Oh, I do believe you say you find it disappointing. But then again, I didn’t say I was unwilling to debate anything. Your opinions are your own, though, and your comments about what Labour did or didn’t do for you are, again, relevant only to you.
        The point of the poll is to get a rough idea of whether people really are better-off in work. At the moment it’s showing that around 1/8 of those who voted, are – and this is fine, but it suggests quite clearly that the Tory claim was not accurate because 7/8 of those who voted are not.

      3. Steve grant

        The SUN was originally a broadsheet called The Daily Herald …..a strong Labour paper..Scooped up by that vile Australian Murdoch.He dispensed with the name of the paper and turned it into the Sun and a friend of Tory governments.

    2. leonc1963

      “It’s crazy to assume, as a lot of the “Occupy” movements and left-wingers do, that all lower class to middle class workers haven’t benefitted from the tax changes.”

      Those receiving tax credits haven’t because whilst the tax threshold has gone up tax credits have gone down and there is also VAT which has also hit them and both of those they will feel it more

      1. Free Cat

        I’m not going to dispute that more people are worse off, Mike – I’m in a lucky and specific demographic that had it less than favourable before and better now. I said that in my original post. I just think it will be closer than 7 out of 8 if you did a completely unbiased statistical review of each person’s finances (obviously impossible).

        This is all I meant by biased – perhaps the wrong word, but a left wing focused blog will have more of a left wing readership than a right wing and some of those will vote in favour of the left wing answer regardless of the actual truth of their personal lives. Naturally it equally goes the other way too.

        I apologise if I offended by calling it a biased blog. The English language is unfavourable sometimes.

        I can appreciate that my circumstances are fact to me but opinion to you, sure. The only way I can prove otherwise is to scan in years of pay slips, bank statements and mortgage applications!

      2. Mike Sivier Post author

        Look again at my comment about the readership of The Sun, which puts the lie to your claim here. It had more of a left-wing readership than right-wing, even though it was a right-wing paper. You can’t pigeonhole readers by what they’re reading.
        Also, I think many Vox Political readers will be appalled at your suggestion that they are lying.

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        Your claim that I said your circumstances were opinion is false. Read again what I wrote. I mentioned your opinions, and then I said comments about the previous government’s effect on you were relevant only to you.
        Please do not attempt to misrepresent what I have written. It won’t get you anywhere because other readers are perfectly capable of reading back a few comments to find the facts.
        Also, please do not scan in payslips etc as I’d have to ban you for spamming.

    3. Free Cat

      The Sun switches alligences based on whatever’s good for Murdoch and you know that. The world’s a different place than it was when you couldn’t protest loudly on the internet about whatever garbage was written in whatever publication.

      I didn’t say all of your readers anyway, that’s putting serious words in my mouth there. But it is true. Some people are so gravitated towards a certain bent or opinion that they will go out of their way to support it no matter what.

      I can see you have no interest in discussing things rationally anyway, so I’ll leave it there. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        I didn’t mention all Vox Political readers either – I mentioned “many” of them. Again you are misrepresenting.
        Your claim about rational discussion is also misrepresentation.
        The Sun does switch allegiances – but you’ll notice that it only swung to Labour during the New Labour neoliberal experiment when Labour took a rapid lurch to the right under Tony Blair.

  2. PendanticGeek

    Am I better off in work than out of work? Yes, but then I still claim HB and Child Tax Credit, plus I have a VERY good pension scheme from the job I’m in (one of the last to get a final salary pension). I am stuck where I am because my conditions are so much better than I could get elsewhere. Do I think that this is a good thing? NO! If people don’t have the freedom to quit a job with bad conditions then the job market is skewed in favour of the employer.

  3. marcusdemowbray

    At the time of the London Olympics there were several scandals involving Tax Avoidance: very wealthy individuals, corporations and Corporate Sponsors of the Games were found not to be paying any (or enough) tax. Then it transpired that companies, individuals and MPs all have a “cosy” “Revolving Door” relationship with HMRC, including voluntary minimal Tax payments, career opportunities etc..Then it transpired that many corporate sponsors of the Games (e.g. True Blue British Companies like, er, McDonalds, KFC, Cloaca Cola and many others were not having to pay Tax on the profits they made from their takings at the games.

    Both Camoron and Duncey Osborne immediately publicly PROMISED that they would take immediate action to end Tax Avoidance and Offshore banking. They have done nothing at all to stop this huge drain on our National Income and continue trying to cut our expenditure rather than increasing our income.

  4. Dave Rowlands

    If you have to rely on benefit top-ups to keep you employed then you are earning no more than if you were claiming 100% social security. “Better Off In Work” should mean earning a wage that will let you live your life without having to claim a subsidy to continue working.

  5. aturtle05

    What you have to remember is the “Cameron Mindset”. It goes along these lines:

    1. I am on high earnings, so people say I should pay more tax.
    2. I am on high earnings, so the government should reduce my tax.
    3. I am on high earnings, and it’s a time of recession, so the government should tax me less!

    Therefore, as someone who has his head stuck up his own anatomy, he doesn’t believe we should pay more.

    However, as his government have “cooked the books” and put more unemployed on courses, forced more into self-employment or to commit suicide, the EU thinks we are doing better than before. That and the fact that as Germany failed to overtake Europe by forceful means, they have done it by political means!

  6. Steve grant

    It’s easy to see why the EU would think we are doing well….the liars in this government have disguised the numbers in work for years and now it’s come back to bite them in the bum.Workfare and zero hours contracts are not work,they are why the government is borrowing more than the last labour government did in it’s entire 13 years .

  7. Stephen Tamblin

    Yes the Torys are hiding the true numbers also I have heard that some young people on aprentiships are not even paid for aprentiships what a bunch of liers all the mps are interested in is calling each other names thay don’t care about the ordinary people.

  8. Smiling Carcass

    Sorry, Mike; I had to vote ‘yes’ to this; I am better off in work, but to elucidate NOT because of Tory policy, OR because of any government policy; simply because I found a better, actually really only comparatively better paid job.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I’m wondering if I should have been more specific and asked “Are you better off in work than out of work, under the current circumstances?”

  9. Chris

    The Sunday Independent 26 October 2014, has the article
    Breadline Britain for a generation on barely the minimum wage,
    who are the bulk of the people on benefit and losing them for trivial reasons from one day to the next, and going to food banks, that are not universal in offering food to those sanctioned/loss/delayed benefit as these cannot access food vouchers.

    People on the minimum wage stay stuck there and are liable to stay there for a decade, the article’s researchers have found.

  10. Jane Jacques

    I would have thought the answer to the question would depend very much on personal circumstances eg I get no benefits, or previously would have only got JSA. I have the luxury of being able to pick up what work I want in fairly well paid NHS work. Is this due to any Government ? No. If I had a spouse and kids and flat rental any benefits claimed and financial position would be completely different. This question really needs to be asked to carefully controlled groups and answers compared for anything meaningful to arise, otherwise its just a friendly discussion and exchange of views, which is great.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Yes, I realised fairly quickly after I put the poll up that people were answering who had gone – for example – from one job to another, which wasn’t the point; it really did need to be addressed to people who had gained work as a result of government ‘support’ (of whatever kind), having previously been unemployed.

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