Tag Archives: earn

The minimum income is 2.5 times what people get on benefits – but still they are labelled scroungers

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The numbers speak for themselves: Under ‘Adequacy of safety-net benefits’, EVERY SINGLE INCOME GROUP has lost out. While others have suffered a great percentage drop, single working-age people remain the least able to make ends meet.

“How much money do you need for an adequate standard of living?”

That is the question posed every year by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – and every year the organisation calculates how much people have to earn – taking into account their family circumstances, the changing cost of these essentials and changes to the tax and benefit system – to reach this benchmark.

This year’s research finds:

A lone parent with one child now needs to earn more than £27,100 per year – up from £12,000 in 2008. A couple with two children need to earn more than £20,200 each, compared to £13,900 each in 2008. Single working-age people must now earn more than £16,200, up from £13,500 in 2008;

Despite social and economic change, the list of goods and services different families need to live to an adequate level is very similar to that of the original study in 2008 – but people’s ability to afford them has declined. Overall the cost of a basket of essential items has risen by a massive 28 per cent over six years – much higher than the 19 per cent rise claimed by the official Consumer Price Index – while average wages have increased by just nine per cent and the minimum wage 14 per cent;

Increased tax allowances have eased the pressure somewhat for some households, but the freeze to child benefit and ongoing cuts in tax credits have outweighed this for low-earning families with children.

Out-of-work benefits have fallen further and now provide just 39 per cent of what single, working-age people need to reach a Minimum Income Standard.

On the other hand, pensioner couples who claim all their allowances receive 95 per cent of the amount required.

The bottom line is that the Conservative-led government has been hammering the working poor and people on benefits, while claiming to be helping them. The minimum income necessary for an adequate living standard, according to JRF research, is no less than two-and-a-half-times what people on benefits receive. That is an appalling disparity in the sixth-richest country in the world.

It also creates a danger that more people will look to loan suppliers like the government’s favourite (Wonga) for short-term help – at the cost of going into disastrous long-term debt.

Slow earnings growth and price increases have made all households worse off on average, relative to the MIS, the report has found.

The conclusion is a disaster for the Coalition’s “hardworking” people: “In the past six years the more important determinants of whether low-income households can afford the minimum budget have been the increasing cost of living relative to earnings and benefit cuts for households in and out of work.

“For working families with children, if these cuts continue, the opportunity to reach an acceptable living standard may not improve, even as wages start rising again in real terms.”

And the Conservatives have the cheek to use the slogan “For hardworking people”.

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The reality of the Coalition’s crackdown on tax credits

Nothing more to say: This Tax Credits advert was intended to warn people to keep up-to-date with information they send HMRC about their Tax Credits claim; now it seems the message is much simpler - they want to stop paying you anyway.

Nothing more to say: This Tax Credits advert was intended to warn people to keep up-to-date with information they send HMRC about their claim; now it seems the message is much simpler – they want to stop paying you anyway.

A guest blog by ‘Mimismum’.

What follows was posted to Vox Political as a response to Tax Credits and Debt Collection Agencies: Peachy’s Comment. It details the facts of the situation for just one struggling family and as such was worth a larger audience than it would have received as a comment on another article.

This government scares the s**t out me. I don’t know how much more stress I can take now. It has gone beyond anything like “austerity” or “in it together” rhetoric and is now a witch hunt against the poor or low earners, sick and disabled – even going as far as blaming us for our own predicament.

We have seen our family income go from £800 from my other half’s wage back in 2009 to just under £350 now, due to successive redundacies. He works and has never had any unemployment in the past 12 years, and yet each time he calls tax credits to say there is a change in our income they lower the award (ha! thats a rich term for it now, its garbage to call it an award) based on his predicted income, even though its gone down and down.

Last year he worked overtime for two weeks, got paid an extra £20 in the month and they hammered us by cutting his Working Tax Credits by £30 a week for the entire year! He recently got made redundant again and is now working two temp jobs (one of which is zero hours) and he has got hours bouncing around all over the joint. Family life has been shot to s**t, and when he rang Tax Credits to tell them they just said, “Oh well, as long as it’s over the 24 a week you are okay.”

Today they shoved some money in the bank. He rang to ask what the hell it was for; they can’t tell him because “We haven’t had the renewal paperwork in.” For goodness’ sake, we just wanted to know what this extra money is, it’s not rocket science! The guy refused to tell us!

My other half had to use it to pay bills because his wages were short due to the zero hour contract job changing how they pay wages now – because of that stupid pension scheme c**p the government forced on everyone. Even though he already has one from his previous job, this company took money for their pension and said they wouldnt pay into his! Oh, and because his old employer forgot to send his P45, he had to pay emergency tax as well!

We can’t do this any more. The stress of him working two jobs, my disability, and having children is driving a wedge between us. One of our children has autism, and I am struggling to maintain a routine that they desperately need – and I can’t. The other half is now on National Minimum Wage for both crappy jobs; both want exclusivity out of him and now keep rostering him on during the other job’s time. Both knew he had a second job when they took him on, and now we find out that tax credits can send debt collectors and bailiffs around for money they say anyone owes, just like that.

I wish to god Tony Blair had not invented tax credits, because it gives employers a get-out clause for paying decent wages. I can’t get hospital transport fees out of the NHS for trips I have had to make and even though they were claimed within the time allowed – no payment has been forthcoming because “it’s too late now” for them to pay out. I have another appointment in two weeks’ time which I have to cancel as I cant get there, because my other half can’t take time off work from either job – and my physio is about to strike me off for the same reason.

I am sick of this mess; we dont deserve this, and if we find out Tax Credits have overpaid us as well I don’t know what we would do. We have an income of less than average and we pay our own rent; we don’t claim Housing Benefit because the council stuffs it up and we get into arrears so we manage on our own.

We claim less of what we are entitled to because I am scared they will want it back, and now they are playing this game with tax credits.

I don’t want to be punished any more for being disabled, a parent or married. I have had enough of being poor and scared. All I want is for my other half to have a decent job with a decent wage, and there is nothing out there now.

No jobs, nothing, and it’s getting worse.

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Who can afford to buy or rent property in Britain now?

This bubble will burst: The Coalition government has engineered a recovery based on the false inflation of house prices and rents.

This bubble will burst: The Coalition government has engineered a recovery based on the false inflation of house prices and rents. It is bound to burst; the only questions are when – and who will be harmed by the fallout? [Picture: Haynesonfire blog]

Today the BBC reported that average private sector housing rents have hit a record high of £757 per month – just three days after the Corporation told us house prices have also hit a record high (averaging £247,000).

If you are an “average” UK earner (whatever that is), then your income has been cut by almost 10 per cent in the three years and five months since David Cameron became Prime Minister. Who can afford to rent at these prices? Who can afford to buy?

And is this the private rented accommodation that people affected by the Bedroom Tax were supposed to rent instead?

Are these the houses on which the government is going to underwrite 15 per cent of the mortgage in its ‘Help to Buy’ scheme? Already a(nother) huge housing bubble is growing and the debt crisis when it bursts will be appalling.

Meanwhile, everything costs a fortune and you have no money.

But somebody is buying. And somebody is renting.

Somebody rich, obviously.

“Higher rents in almost every region show that, despite government schemes, buying a first home is still a difficult aspiration,” the article quotes David Newnes, director of LSL Property Services.

“This is not only down to low salary growth, but also a general shortage of supply – which is the underlying reason why homes are getting more expensive. The long-term trend to renting therefore looks unlikely to change significantly in the near future.”

So the lack of house-building – either to buy or to rent – has proved lucrative for property developers and landlords. They don’t need to build any more if the value of their current buildings keeps rising. And nobody else can afford to build.

In the meantime, people in social housing are feeling the bite of the Bedroom Tax, with 50,000 families in danger of eviction because of it – putting pressure on local authorities who have to pay through the nose to put them into bed and breakfast accommodation instead.

Was this the Tory plan? To make things – the important things like housing and land – so expensive that only they and their friends could afford them? To push you into dependency by proxy?

And we didn’t see it coming?

Gosh.

At least nobody reading this voted for them. Anyone who did that must feel like a real chump now.