Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Single parents on benefits

Yesterday I lightly touched on the fairly taboo subject of single parents on benefits. Mentioning a distant friend of mine, though i dont know her well, only in passing, here I am going to attempt to do a case study highlighting her as a random example of a problem that is costing our country billions a year, £400+ million of which by single parents who are no longer single.

First of all a profile is in order, she is fairly young at 23 and has had a fairly steady boyfriend for 7 years, she has one child with him and is expecting another. She used to live at a hostel but now has a council flat in central london, of which she spends her various hours on a fairly expensive computer, playing a variaty of games, one which required only the first initial fee, the second requiring monthly payment off approx £10 (not a huge amount).

Foodwise she tends to live on a lot of take out, however she does also do a fair amount of cooking.

She buys designer clothes in the low-medium expense range (The usual slightly 'chavish' brands) for both herself and her child.

She is a fairly heavy smoker, a habit that costs dearly, she has no intention of giving this up when the new anti smoking laws come into place as she does not frequent drinking establishments regularly. On the same line since she does not drink out a huge amount this saves a fair amount of money. She does occasionally go out, and does occasionally drink at home, but neither to a degree of concern.

The first thing to point out is that she is currently commiting benefit fraud. She is one of the people costing us tax payers £400 million plus a year as she has a partner but has not chosen to inform the government of this.
A major factor is that she freely claims that this lifestyle was a choice, and that she does not want to work. Quite a worrying factor is that people are now considering living off benefits a 'choice', when it should infact be a 'saftey net'

Her child now goes to school which allows ample time for her to get a part time job to help bring in some cash, she does not however wish to do this as she likes staying at home.
Her boyfriend does work, and does share some of his income with her, though his job is not extremely high paid it would be more than enough for them to live on while claiming the applicable benefits.

The big question is this, why is she, and thousands other like her doing this?

The simple answer?

Because its stable and comfortable. Its not the best life, she could get better, but she is comfortable where she is, after spending so many years in this position she feels both safe and simply has no desire to move out of it. This is a situation apparent in many aspects of life, even in my on job I could go for something better but have become stable and comfortable where I am.

The Problem?

This lifestyle is costing us dear, with the billions we are losing thousands of nurses, police and teachers could be hired. the economy of the UK is, despite what the government claims, on a massive downswing, people are going bankrupt at 3 times the rate of two years ago. The people working are having less and less to live on, especially the lower paid. Inflation calculated by third parties is hitting 8%-14%, and even council tax is raising by an average of around 5%. Of course the government is boasting of how inflation is at its lowest ina long itme at a good 2.5%, which is what many peoples wages are based on. Hence why my cost of living has gone up by about 9%, despite the government assuring me its 2.5% and my job giving me a good ol' 2.5% payrise.


Anonymous said...

Then on the flip side you have my mum who works her butt off at a not greatly paid job, has raised 3 kids all on her own as my dad has decided not to help financially in the last 11 years, she cooks everyday even takes her own lunch to work, very rarely goes out for dinner or to the cinema etc and she's being screwed by the government. She gets next to nothing.

She has many times mentioned she be better off financially if she was to give up work but she won't because she believes in being independent.

Oli said...

Perfect example of where teh government has gone wrong, it penalises teh peopel who work and rewards the people who do nothing, no awy an economy can function like that!