Sat here in between periods scoffing down Oreo after Oreo – I have no idea what it is about them or other such delights but once I start I just can’t stop – with my useless, slow blackberry in hand ready to type and allow the free flow of a blog to commence by blocking out the world; I stop in my tracks, as today I want to discuss something that is discussed by many tabloid papers in the UK. Except I don’t want to sound like some whinny Brit; no, I actually intend to raise questions and allow some scope for thought. Deep in thought now, I reminisce over the countless conversations I have had regarding this issue:
The UK benefit system.
So I begin this blog thousands of miles away from English waters, in the ‘cool’ room (staff room) in a little town in Thailand where I was discussing the UK benefit system with my Thai bosses. At the time they looked puzzled, as if they were lost in translation. They confirmed this by asking, “So what do the people do for the money?“, “Sorry, what do you mean?” I reply, confused. “Well, the people who get the money from government? What can they do?“…. A moment’s pause… “Ummmm…nothing actually“.
Well ok, ok this isn’t exactly true as a person receiving state benefit has to be pro actively looking for work and has to go to the job office once a week. As a british citizen, the dole is not an odd concept for me. But when a non-English native questions it as simply and logically as they did, it causes a serious pause for thought. In fact my bosses hit the nail on the head with an industrial crane. “Why are these people getting free money???!!!“. Yes, I have thought this before, I’m sure I’m not alone there. But it really hit home what a ridiculous concept the dole is!!! Ok, so let’s not be harsh: ,if you suddenly get sacked, fine claim some kind of help (food tokens, perhaps).
Ok, so it’s going to happen. I will now launch into my suggestion for the dole saga. Firstly, if you claim monetary or token help you need to pay it back. So pay a slightly higher tax bracket when you get a job, perhaps ten percent of your earnings. You have 2 months to get a job and can apply for a months extension providing you have clearly made EVERY effort to get work. (So no shit CVs or saying ridiculous things during interviews that leave the employer with one thought.. “there’s absolutely no fucking way we’re employing you!!!“) After 3 months, you’re on your own. Oh, and I forgot to mention dole money would be renamed Service Britain Allowance credit.
So you have two options: to pay the higher tax bracket or to work back your credit for the period of time you had claimed. This means that any community jobs like litter picking, park re-generating, etc would be asked of you when required during 9 to 5 working hours. Community service would not be completed by criminals. I’d use the millions of benefit money saved to build more prisoners and chuck the bastards in there. This would also help labourers, sparkies and plumbers out in this current economic climate, creating jobs for them.
This Britain sounds like a harsh place, but I think it makes much better sense than the ‘here, have everything for nothing’ philosophy. I was always taught that a benefit is kind of like a reward. I’m pretty sure I never had a conversation like this with my mother:
“Tidy your room, Jade.”
An hour later, “Oh, you haven’t tidied your room, here’s a pack of sweets“.
I think it’s about high time Britain had a kick up the arse!!! Ok, not everyone was born destined to be a brain surgeon. But it’s damn right laziness that gets me. What irritates me the most is when I hear things like, ‘foreigners come over here and claim all our benefits‘. That statement is somewhat deluded isn’t it? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander as the saying goes. Nationality is irrelevant. Of course people are going to take full advantage of such a shoddy system! Patriotism and supporting your fellow Englishmen is one thing, but paying for them is quite another. Am I annoyed that these people live for nothing? No, I want to earn a comfortable wage and lead an eventful infused life. So in no way am I jealous: just annoyed that people have no get up and go.
I feel just as passionately about child tax credits. My friend, and a good friend at that is a single parent. Her ex is a terrible man, that’s a whole other story. But in short, he felt like Tiger Woods – he had this incurable disease which forced him to have sex with girls off the internet… Yes.. We won’t comment! Her situation was awful: fresh back from travels, pregnant with no job. However, a year on and she has a lovely partner and a beautiful blue-eyed girl. So not a bad ending to a shit story, thankfully.
I have never felt awkward around my friend until one day we were discussing finances. It turns out she earned just under 2 grand with tax credits, government grants, CSA money and her 16 hours of work per week. I worked 39 hours per week and cleared 1200. The amount I paid for one month of water, she paid for a year’s supply. Electricity isn’t worth a monetary mention and her rent was 250 GBP a month. Mine was 600 GBP. So how much are nappies costing these days exactly, for christ’s sake??? I was able to pay all my bills, save for travelling and pay off student debts. Yes I wore shit clothes from Primark and ate pasta, but it was my choice to travel.
I just don’t understand why parents need that much help. Make nappies and child necessities cheap as chips, it would save massively in the long run. Yes child care is expensive but the government already subs this. I just cannot understand why we are investing so much money so parents can have children whilst the rest of us work? I think its obscene. Again, it encourages the lazy amongst us to have children as a means to lots of free money – and we wonder why we’re in such a state financially?
Yes, these are somewhat conservative views but I’m not exactly wealthy! We are always complaining about our up and coming generation, when really we should start by setting the example in the foundation of our country’s policy… A benefitless Britain.
(and wholeheartedly endorsed by Miss L)