I am not sure whether I breaking any copy right laws by copying this to my blog but it is a must read. Especially with reference to the family in wales
Sky TV, Special Brew, Superkings...those benefit cuts in full
By Richard Littlejohn
Last updated at 7:53 AM on 3rd February 2012
Call Me Dave repeatedly challenged Mister Ed in the Commons this week to agree that families on welfare should not be better off than those who go out to work. Answer came there none.
Labour is still refusing to support Government plans to cap benefits at £26,000 a year — equivalent to the average annual household income.
Opposition MPs again voted en masse against the reforms, which have been thrown out of the House of Lords by a holier-than-thou alliance of Labour peers and bolshie bishops.
Clash: David Cameron has been challenging Ed Miliband over his party's refusal to support the Government's proposed £26,000 cap on benefits
It now looks as if ministers will wheel out a rarely used constitutional battering ram to force the Bill through Parliament in time for it to become law by April next year.
Cameron has already watered down the plans, by offering concessions such as a nine-month grace period for those who have recently lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and setting up a £130 million transitional fund to help families who have to move house because they can no longer afford the rent.
But he insists, quite rightly, that the headline £26,000 figure (£500 a week tax-free) is non-negotiable. A working family would have to earn £35,000 before tax to take home that amount.
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Millions of people on low and fixed incomes have to live on far less, which is why these proposals enjoy widespread public support.
Opponents of the cap have whipped themselves up into a self-righteous lather of lunacy, screeching hysterically about ‘social cleansing’ and ‘plunging families into poverty’.
While just about stopping short of accusing Cameron of wanting to pitchfork bay-bees, Labour stubbornly refuses to go along with the reforms.
In the Commons, the Prime Minister justifiably taunted Miliband: ‘People up and down the country will be completely amazed that the party that is supposed to stand up for working people thinks that it is OK to get more on benefits than a family gets from working.’
Labour maintains that the plans are unfair and accuses the Government of taking too much notice of newspaper stories about asylum seekers being billeted in six and seven-bedroom mansions and receiving over £100,000 a year in benefits. It’s only in London, where the cost of living is sky-high, that these ‘abuses’ are to be found, they claim.
In an attempt to clamber back on to the moral high-ground, some Labour politicians have even suggested that the cap could be lower outside London.
So, in the interests of ‘fairness’, let’s look further afield. The BBC has been doing sterling work in highlighting the ‘victims’ of the ‘savage’ cuts.
In London, it’s true, most of these ‘victims’ seem to be single mothers from overseas, many of them suffering from a range of exciting ‘disabilities’, and living in taxpayer-subsidised accommodation they couldn’t possibly afford if they went out to work.
But surely there are more deserving cases to be found in the provinces. Take this family from North Wales, whose plight is featured on the BBC website.
Unemployed father-of-seven Raymond (not his real name) and his family rent a former council house on a social housing estate in North Wales. They do not own a car or take a regular annual holiday.
‘Raymond, a former educational software writer, has been jobless since 2001. His wife Katherine suffers from bipolar disorder with an anxiety disorder and is unable to work.
‘Ray, 45, says: “The market for my skills dried up ten years ago and there’s a total lack of work in my area of expertise.”
‘The couple share their home with six of their children — their five-year-old son, Raymond’s twin girls from his first marriage, and three of his wife’s four children from an earlier relationship.
‘The family receive a total of £30,284.80 a year in benefits — well over the £26,000 cap proposed by the Government.
‘But Raymond says: “If these proposals go through, we will take a massive hit to our finances. And it’s not as if we could move into a smaller or cheaper premises. I see eight people here having to choose between eating or heating.” ’
So let’s have a look at the old scoreboard. Ray’s family receives
£30,284.80 a year — that’s £4,284.80 above the proposed cap. So much for the argument that living costs, and therefore welfare bills, are lower outside London. Although he’s still only 45, he hasn’t worked for 11 years, claiming there’s no call for his skills.
Not in North Wales, maybe. But according to the recruitment website careerjet.co.uk there are currently 1,436 vacancies in the ‘educational software’ field across Britain. They’re not all in London and the South-East. For instance, there are jobs going in Derby and Stoke, each paying a starting salary of £50,000 a year.
Plenty of people move house or commute great distances to find work. If he didn’t fancy either of those options, Ray could always stay in Derby or Stoke during the week and go home at the weekend.
I’m sure his wife could manage without him. She doesn’t seem to leave the house much, owing to her condition. I hadn’t realised that ‘anxiety’ was a disability. Despite being ‘bi-polar’ she still thought it was a good idea to have another baby five years ago, even though Ray hadn’t worked since 2001.
Incidentally, how much does the father of her three children by a previous relationship contribute to their upkeep?
Maybe the reason Raymond doesn’t bother looking for another job is that it wouldn’t be worth his while.
To take home £30,284 a year, he would have to earn just over £41,000 before tax. That’s only slightly below the point at which the 40p rate of income tax kicks in — and the Government thinks you’re so ‘rich’ you don’t need child benefit.
It’s a fair bet he’s already better off than his neighbours. Wages in North Wales are the lowest in Britain, averaging just £20,213 in Wrexham. So he would have to earn twice the local average salary to take home what he is paid, tax-free, in benefits.
Helpfully, the BBC website provides us with a handy breakdown of the family’s weekly expenditure.
This includes £15 a week for Sky TV. ‘We get the Sky Movies package because we’re stuck in the house all week — otherwise we wouldn’t have any entertainment,’ Ray explains.
Then there’s £32 a week on mobile phones. ‘My wife and I have mobile phones and so do all the teenage children. You try telling teenagers they’re going to have to do without their mobiles and there’ll be hell to pay.’
Since Ray and his wife are, by their own admission, stuck in the house all week, you might wonder why they need mobile phones. Perhaps she calls up to the bedroom to wake him when Pirates Of The Caribbean comes on Sky Movies of an afternoon.
The biggest chunk of their budget goes on the weekly shop, which includes 24 cans of lager, 200 cigarettes and a large pouch of tobacco.
‘On the cigarettes, my wife tried to give up, but she missed one appointment on the course and they threw her off it.’
Ain’t life a bitch?
Faced with a cut of £82.40 a week under the new cap, Ray claims they now have a stark choice between ‘eating or heating’.
They could always go without Sky Movies, six mobile phones and their weekly carton of Superkings. That would save them over £100 a week, — and they’d still have enough left over for two dozen cans of Special Brew and all the roll-ups they can smoke, without having to economise on food.
These are the kind of people Labour is determined to protect from economic reality at the expense of their neighbours who go out to work every day and have to live on half as much money.
Incredibly, this is the BBC’s idea of a sob story, designed to tug at our heart-strings over the cruel hardship caused by the ‘savage’ cuts.
You won’t be surprised to learn that none of the 1,264 people who had left comments on the website last night expressed much sympathy.
And coming up after the news, a Panorama special on the impact of the ‘savage’ welfare cuts on the Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe.
The Old Woman, a self-employed Big Issue seller from Afghanistan, has so many children . . . she gets £50,000 a year in child benefit, £100,000 in housing benefit, £20,000 in disability benefit, Sky Multi-room, a regular weekly delivery of cigarettes and lager from Ocado.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2095623/UK-benefits-cap-welfare-reform-Sky-TV-Special-Brew-Superkings--benefit-cuts-full.html#ixzz1lJ9Ddm4S