Poverty

I’m thinking of last winter, a snow-blurred  landscape and my agonisingly permanently cold blue feet, painful hands, the shaming underweight lecture from my  consultant: “eat much more and you must keep warm with raynauds” she said. I told her I couldn’t do both, and she looked at me uncomprehendingly, though she usually understood me.

via Poverty.

The Truth and Statistics Campaign – Petition 2

Jayne says :-

Last year over 100,006 people said Hold Iain Duncan Smith to account for his misuse of Statistics, both The Work & Pensions Select 3rd Report Monitoring the Perfomance of DWP 2012/13 and the Public Administration Committee 1st Report Agreed.

We demand The House accepts these Recommendation and Ensures Minsters and others present statistics in a way that is fair, accurate and “unspun”.

Read more:

via The Truth and Statistics Campaign – Petition 2.

Me at age 2 with Pippy

“OMG! Why do we pay people just for squeezing out another kid?!?”

I should probably stop “reading the comments” (those under certain online newspaper articles and blog posts). My BP goes up and the acid rises into my throat.

Regarding the Philpott case and the Chancellor’s comments I’ll just say that Osborne is a creep of the first order. There’s no natural justice in the world or he, IDS, Cameron and the rest of the bastards would soon experience the pain and stress that too many of us have to deal with every day – and without the cushion of insane wealth or “friends” to ease it for them. It won’t happen, but I can dream sometimes. Hey, I never, ever said I was a nice person. I can be kind, helpful, caring etc – also judgemental, bad-tempered, angry, grudging and vindictive. But not nice – ask my husband, he’s the nice one.

So, the Philpotts received Child Benefit for 11 children (two mothers, 5 and 6 children each)? And, apparently that’s a horrible horrible thing. To some people the idea of having that many children is so alien that it can only be explained by “They did it for the money!” I’ve heard this said about families with 5 or 6 kids where both parents are working and claiming no other benefits than Child Benenfit (until recently payable to, usually, the mother of every child in the UK).

So let’s examine the amazing financial benefit of “squeezing out another brat” as I have heard it termed (I have heard other terms used, some by people I still consider friends despite their seeming hatred for children – that’s another rant for another post). One thing every single person forgets when they cry “OMG! They were getting £8K* a year in Child Benefit!” is that each one of those kids has to be fed, housed and clothed. Each one has to:

– have a bath or shower regularly (utilities bill);

– be clothed adequately, now hand-me-downs used to be the way with large families but nowadys cheap clothes barely last through one child, so clothes & school uniforms for constantly growing kids, shoes and coats being the most expensive items – oh, laundry, more on the utilities bill;

– they have to be fed regularly, preferably with healthy food;

– have somewhere to live, so rent & rates on a large enough house to accomodate all of you (note: both women worked, so may have had to pay rates & at least part of rent depending on income);

– to be kept warm in winter – unless you want to force them all into the box room to keep warm by body heat a la the middle ages.

There is a lot more, but you get my drift.

Once you’ve paid all that…. you know what? Child Benefit per child doesn’t come anywhere close to covering what it costs to raise a child. So there’s no “extra” left to fund any kind of “lifestyle”. I don’t know what sort of “lifestyle” the Tories and their sycophants think someone who has to rely on a high level of benefits has – perhaps they should each swap homes and incomes with some of those that they are trying to dehumanise and turn into hate figures for people who are scared that they might be next.

*Calculations

£20.30 /week for first child

£13.40 for each subsequent child

Now, most calculations I have seen assume only one at eldest child rate, but I suspect each mother received her own Child Benenfit.

So, per week:

2 @ £20.30  = £40.60

9 @ £13.40  =£120.60

Weekly total = £161.20

x 52  = £8382.40

Osborne, G. – Failed

(edited and expanded from my original response to http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2013/02/23/on-aaa-and-what-might-happen/comment-page-1/#comment-631503)

I believe the simplest way to stimulate the economy is not found by faffing about with banks & big business but by increasing the net income received by the middle & lower strata of society – the people who will actually spend the extra income – starting the very necessary cycle. It’s like an engine, and ours has stalled.

– people have excess income
– they spend it
– increasing income for business
– increased income allows business to expand/employ extra staff (with the extra bonus of shifting more people off JSA)
– this means more people who have excess income
– rinse & repeat

Yes, I know it’s simplistic, I never claimed to have studied economics (ok, one unit in 1st semester 1st year > 25 years ago). But it makes sense.

If no-one has excess income (except the very rich, who don’t spend in the same way at all), they can’t spend anything, the businesses cannot expand as no-one is using them or buying from them, so everything either stagnates or gets worse over time.  Every small, especially rural, town watches local business after business shutdown as no-one has any money to spend on anything but the absolute basics necessary to live. Cheap supermarkets & discount online sellers thrive, everyone else declines. Small towns end up with a High Street of empty premises, a few charity shops, banks, sometimes a pub &/or coffee shop and a never-ending cycle of hopeful businesses opening and closing shops every couple of weeks, with a large supermarket or “retail park” on the edge of town.

Oh, and surely boosting the economy (by increasing the income of more people again) would be done if we started with a bloody council house building program to replace the ones council tenants, like my grandparents, bought in the ’80s. As I said, I’m not an economist, but surely building your way out of a recession is more viable than austerity when all of your possible trading partners are in the same or worse state than you.

I look at our so-called leaders, their opposite numbers & those in the rest of the world and think they could all do with damned good talking to and a stint in the Naughty Corner (I’d say a smacked bottom but I’m afraid that too many of them would enjoy it).  Rip off their blinkers and force them to take part in the real world for a year, with no outside help, before they are allowed to make policy that affects lives – make them live the life of those they would destroy & demonise before they do so.  A friend said I’d make a good “World Mum” – I think I’d need a huge naughty step and a very big wooden spoon.