Jobseeker’s Challenge: Mr Bank vs Mr Jobless

I’m sitting here feeling a bit confused. Perhaps you can help me work this through. Now, surely nobody can disagree that we’re facing tough times and, from your comments, many people out there have lost their jobs and are struggling to make ends meet. But it seems to me that there is a world of difference between how you are treated by the authorities, depending whether you are a jobseeker or a major bank.

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that if you’re Mr Bank – a big greedy institution that can’t be bothered to invest sensibly and keep your balance sheet in order – you can go cap in hand to the government and get armfuls of taxpayers’ cash. Then, you can go away and despite the share price value you’ve destroyed and the jobs you’ve liquidated along the way, you can take taxpayers’ cash and use it to pay yourself a big fat bonus.

But if you’re Mr or Ms Jobless – an individual who’s worked hard, raised a family and paid your taxes, maybe scraped together the fruits of those labours to buy a home or save, but lost your job through no fault of your own, you get a pittance a week and you have to jump through hoops to get it. And unless your partner can cover all your expenses, you risk losing your home altogether. It might take you years to get back on your feet.

If you’re Mr Small Business and need a cash lifeline from Mr Bank to keep going, you won’t get it because Mr Bank, while happy to help himself to the taxpayers’ money won’t lend it back to the taxpayer, Mr Small Business, at a fair rate. And if you’re Ms First Time Buyer saving to buy your own home, that same Mr Bank will demand a 25 per cent deposit or else tie you into a crippling five year fixed rate mortgage of 7 per cent, when the Bank of England’s base rate is 0.5 per cent. But don’t despair. Mr Halifax sent out a press release this week telling first time buyers they could easily save for a deposit and afford one of their mortgages if they gave up smoking, their morning latte and gym membership. Perhaps giving up eating and breathing would help too.

Am I missing something here? Now I’m not an economist, but I recognise that letting these big institutions go to the wall could destabilise the economy even further, and even more jobs would be lost. However – maybe it’s just me – but doesn’t something in our society fundamentally need to change? I know there are people who work the benefits system and that Job Centre workers have to guard against them, but don’t jobseekers deserve to be treated with dignity? And don’t they deserve an allowance that it’s actually possible to live on?

Anyway, rant over! Back to my own jobseeker’s challenge, the things I’ve found hardest so far are not having a little money to go out and having to think even harder than I usually do about every expense. At least the good weather has lessened the impact of staying in, because it made me feel cheerful and I can enjoy pottering in the garden for free. I’m making an effort to scour the kitchen and be inventive with store cupboard ingredients too, so that I don’t have to go to the supermarket. And not use the car too much, so I don’t waste petrol. But I know this will only work for so long.

This weekend will be a bit tricky as we have friends coming to stay. I’ll let you know next week how we get on.

Do you think the Jobseeker’s Allowance and other benefits should be overhauled? What changes would you make to the system?

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96 Responses to Jobseeker’s Challenge: Mr Bank vs Mr Jobless

  1. Christine says:

    The only reason that the government has subsidised the banks is because they didn\’t dare to let them go out of business in case the country followed suit. Problem is that wages and benefits are now paid through the banks so if a bank goes down, people lose wages and benefits. People also pay a lot of bills by direct debit and if a business does not get the income, the customer will not get the goods (heating, water, rent payments, mortgage payments, telephone, TV, internet, house and car insurance and all the other "essentials" of everyday living). The money from the government seems to be used to put back on the balance sheets of the banks. Once upon a time, people put savings into the bank and got some interest for leaving it there. Then the bank could lend the savings to other people and charge a bit more than the saver\’s interest to cover costs and make a profit. However this no longer works – especially as people no longer save but use credit cards …..I see nothing wrong in having to save a deposit for a house. What I do see as wrong is the extreme cost of houses. A house is a place to live not an investment for the future on which you will make a profit. I also can\’t see wherein lies the stigma of renting. And yes the Halifax has a point about saving up a deposit – if you want a house you can surely look at your spending and see where you can make cuts to save. Admittedly there are cuts and cuts – but gym membership and lattes are not essential food and clothes. Small businesses should be able to use the government loan guarantee scheme but this is not being used by the banks who are insisting that a small business owner gives personal guarantees to cover 100% of the loan whereas 75% can be covered by the government. On a more personal level, you don\’t invite people round to stay if you are "on the dole" unless they come bringing their own food and drink. Sorry Piper but life at one level about the street (and that is what the dole is) does not allow for any frivolity whatsoever. It\’s a bring your own teabag routine. As for using the car – this should only be for interviews that you can\’t get to any other way or by any other cheaper means. Your £60.50 will not run to adding more petrol when the fuel runs out. Now you should be looking for a free bus to the supermarket – there is a local free bus to Asda that runs round the estates and out through other towns to the big one near our out of town shopping centre. Using this means that you can shop without having to pay to get there. Remember that you need a list once the food has gone there is no more money to come. It\’s not the job seekers allowance that is wrong – it\’s the extra money that is needed for travel to the job centre, travel to interviews, travel to see agencies, ink, the telephone calls, envelopes, postage and paper for applications that blows the budget. There should be a specific allowance for these things as a photocopied CV goes straight into any employer\’s waste bin without it being read. It\’s regarded as a sign of can\’t be bothered to make the effort to ensure that your application draws attention to the experience you have for the job available.

  2. Susan says:

    Yeh!!Postman just delivered usual junk mail, funny how these companies appear to have money to waste!Whooppee Benefits Agency are now asking when our lender received our first mortgage protection policy payment, they should know as they told us any money was to be paid directly to US not to our lender!! Another scam so they can class it as income and dock our benefits accordingly, even though WE paid the premium to try to keep roof over our heads. If it wasn\’t for the dog I\’d go doolally, and even though we qualify for this so called government mortgage scheme they bang on about, now because we had the foresight to take out protection we are yet again being penalised, it\’s a no win situation, DAMNED IF YOU DO AND DAMNED IF YOU DON\’T!! Getting really depressed now.

  3. piper says:

    I\’m surprised at you siding with the Halifax, Christine. Who in this climate who is already saving up for a deposit on their first home would be spending out on things like gym membership and lattes anyway? When I was saving for a deposit myself, I cut back on everything and took on as much extra work as I could find – luckily there was some at the time. There is nothing wrong with renting – I did for many years. but there\’s nothing wrong with wanting your money to go on your own home instead of into a landlord\’s pocket either. As for friends coming over – I totally agree, but they\’re DJs friends and he arranged it ages ago!

  4. Christine says:

    Hey Piper, you don\’t realise that saving is a foreign concept to some people. I\’m not on the side of the Halifax – I just know too many people who would be quite shocked to have to actually give up something in order to save up. The upside of renting is that someone else is responsible for the repairs (getting them done may be a whole different matter) whereas with your own house, it\’s your problem and your bill. Something that doesn\’t always get included in the future planning for running the house. Sure I\’m cynical but people are very strange and just sometimes they make me seem normal which I\’m told I\’m not.

  5. Dot says:

    I am pleased I stumbled across this. Out of work almost 6 months, single,female,over 50. In rented accom,about to give it up as I cant cope with the bills any longer. Will sell my furniture or store it. Move to a furnished room. Cant move to cheaper flat as they want a deposit and a months rent in advance plus moving costs, they rarely take DSS tenants anyway. I have found a job now am just waiting for CRB check but as its low paid work need a 2nd job to survive. Each day bar a Sunday I have searched and applied for jobs. As weeks have past there are more candidates applying for each vacancy. I can eat healthy and cheap, never use my oven, bulbs all energy saving when lights are on. £60.50 covers fuel bills , 2 water bills,one is for sewerage,tv licence, topping up the rent allowance. cars gone long ago. Clothes from charity shop here and there. Its depressing,soul destroying and isolating experience.Never had a credit card- paid cash or went without. After almost 30yrs working and paying in, raising kids, I just think whats the point? If I was arriving illegaly it seems I would be given a home and money – instead I cant get a council place and every litttle thing I have worked for will soon be gone. Solution??? 1)The housing issues need looking at,- 2) people who have worked for years should get more JSA. 3) Training for skills shortage work after 3 months unemployed and I dont mean flipping basic IT !

  6. daniel says:

    bank managers are bastards they are greedy probaly taking the money and spending it on whores every night

  7. Ann says:

    My daughter is getting Job Seekers Allowance. What amazes me is that the pittance she gets is being REDUCED from next week. I thought the government was supposed to be helping. Some hope.

  8. meish says:

    been out of work of about a year now cant find a job that pays enough to cover my rent & council tax plus bills now with the ression,jobseekers allowance is not an enough to live on , i can see how ppl turn to shop liffing now , its a hard struggle . the halifax boss is right in the fact that people should give up smoking if they want to afford to get on the property ladder. but i do find it insulting when people who like the big banking bosses who have money & probuarly never want for anything start to preach, they need a harsh dose of reality id like to see some of them get by on benefits. also when i read about these people claiming thousands in benefits a year i would like to how they do it as i can even get a crisis loan from the dole when they dole didnt give me money for 6months after they started sending the claims away to a processing centre. i agree with d \’s point in that people who come to to britain illegaly get a house & money while others who have lived here all there lifes paid there stamp e.c.t cant even get a council house & no cash to help. the system is flawed. my aunty whos husband jst died is struggling to get by with two kids has now been told that she will get her widows pension stopped when the youngest reaches 17 as she was widowed too young NOW THAT IS WRONG!!!!!!!

  9. James says:

    In times like the current financial state of affairs, we should be closing borders, not accepting anymore benefit system seekers. I would like the list of benefit claimants reviewed and i would like to know just how many people claim WITHOUT the use of British nationality. I would also like to know a figure of how much this costs the taxpayer. I am all for migration of labour it is a good thing. Migration of Jobseekers is crippling the country. Is it just me that thinks it is absurd you can come here have a child and then go back to your home country taking 18 years of benefit payments with you????Come on Great Britain lets put a stop to this piss taking.

  10. pat says:

    pat hadlington from dudley, i lost my job last june, i was made redunant after 17yrs i have never been unemployed before this and i,m now 47, i own my house,and i have a daugther at collage, was earning 180 a week at my job with 84 pound tax and child crd a week,so when i lost my job and i found out i was only going to get £60.50 a week i felt sick,me and my daughter just sirived on wot i had cumming in when is was at work,so how the hell was we goin to cope now, i got my child tax crd, and family allowance 4 her still, which made it up to £131 a week ut i had to pay out £97 a week to cover my morgage,and other bills,but if i dont get another job within the next 10months i lose my child tax and family allowanceso i will be liveing on £60.50 a week,i cant do it,its impossable,and yes i do look 4 work every day, but at 47 they dont want u, all they want it young people and people from over countrys so they can pay um wot they like, I would like to meet the person who said that £60.50 is a liveing wage for job seekers to live on, And when i did have to go and sign on some of the people in the job center treat u like u was nothink,some called u a lier when u told um u was looking 4 work. if i dont get a job by the time my daugther leaves collage next july, i dont know wot i,m going to do,its makeing me ill,i will have to sell my house, but why should i, i have worked all my live payed full stamp and tax,but they only go on the last yr u work,WHY??, wot happens to all the over yrs u have paid in,??,its all wrong, very wrong,

  11. konrad says:

    i,ve been looking for work too, and all i get is 36.30 a week!! but if i fell out of a muslim country i\’d be laughing!!!!!!!

  12. Kym says:

    there is only so much the public can take of this!! and what the hell is the so called "labour" gov doing about the s#@t? Its a farce that they can call themselves "labour". It wouldn\’t surprise me and i would show no guilt in it myself if someone lost it and picked off each and every bank director. Why aren\’t we boycotting the banks? Why aren\’t we raising our voices and petitioning outside the banks, Number 10, Parliament. Why do we sit here like lame ducks wishing and hoping for change when it\’s clear that it\’s not going to happen without the support of our community and those suffering to cause a ruckus, make life difficult for the fat rich B&*#@*d bankers??!!!

  13. Kym says:

    you may ask "what do i know about JSA?" Well in 1995-96 i was on JSA for about 6 months. I hated it but when you are made redundant, flat broke you need any support possible which in definition you are entitled to if you paid into the system in the first place. I also got 36.50 a week. Astonished!!? 12 yrs on that the JSA is still only 36.50 a week. It\’s no surprise the comments on here that people are struggling when rent rates have sky rocketed, along with food, energy bills and DAILY necessities.

  14. alf says:

    maybe the government should get their act together and chase up some of the scroungers who have never worked and are milking the state dry, sitting at home claiming that they are better off on the dole than working. HOW CAN THIS BE? These people make me sick. They know all the scams and have every claim going. If only they would put as much effort into finding a job. Then along comes "Mr hard worker" who has worked all his life. He has fallen on hard times and lost his job but when he tries to claim, even though he has paid his dues all his life to keep spongers in their Fourty fags and plazma tv, daytime tv lifesytles, he gets next to nothing because he is new to this and honest and hardworking so he doesn\’t know how to SCAM the system for all its worth. The point I am making is there would be more money left to give Mr Hardworker that bit extra he needed and has paid his dues for if these other people would get of their scrounging arses and go to work and contribute like the rest of us.

  15. kenneth says:

    Halifax have got a nerve to say this. They have increased my credit card rate from 16.5% to 21% this really helps people when they are struggling.Greed comes to mind with these banks.

  16. Nick says:

    Banks are the scum of the earth. Furthermore, they tell HM Revenue & Customs how much you have in your account so this thieving labour government can rob us even more. It makes sense not to use a bank and keep your cash in a hiden safe at home.

  17. Grant says:

    if yur an 18 yea rold still living with parents or family and having them pay your expences then jsa can just stretch but if you have a house to keep including food and fuel and car to run then you had basically start praying as there is no way you can live on it,and if there isnt any jobs to apply for then that just encourages the seeker to seek illegal cash in hand work.

  18. adam says:

    i have a 16month year old daughter and paying for me and her just on what the goverment give me is not enough in a few months i might have to stop living here and move in with a friends family how fun, or even declare homelessness.The money they pay just isnt enough to pay for gas elec and basic food literally the basic necessities i cannot afford i only moved in 4 months ago and already i might have to move out i think they should think about people who have been made redundant due to big company\’s wrongly investing as the tax payers are more important than one crappy person making the wrong decision

  19. David says:

    I am 45 years old, worked every year since i was 16 and never claimed in my life until 6 months ago. My wife and i tried to claim a reduction in our council tax and got offered 56p, what an insult. i am not trying to milk the system, just get some help. I feel uterly let down by the system as we cannoy afford to live with what we receive. The car is due its MOT and tax but how can i pay it? I need it to get to interviews. I have payed in enough over the years with tax and NI so how about a little help when i need it?

  20. Steve says:

    I am 49 years old and i am unemployed, I would like to make people aware that I also have worked from the age of 16 to recently and the jobcentre told me I can not claim any benefits because i have savings of more than £16k and after 6 months i get nothing and have to live off my savings! I have paid taxes and ni contributions for all these yaers but when i apply for benefits i am refused them. Where in this country do you pay towards somthing and end up getting nothing? I would have made arrangements for myself earlier in my working life if i had known and would have chosen to pay for what i would use and not a standard deduction tax and ni deduction. I beleve the state owes me money because I have paid in to the system but I am refused when I want to claim jobseekers allowance.

  21. c says:

    Well Piper a very good point and one i have been wondering over for a while. It would have been cheaper for the idiots in power to have let the banks go bust, after all that\’s what happens when business goes wrong, as for Sir Fred, don\’t get me started. I have a house and by this time next yr i won\’t have it, only keeping it now because of mortgage insurance. As usual the fat cats stay fat whilst the working class get shafted. What fails me totally is that everyone in this country moans but nothing is ever done, would this work in France? I think not. Sir Fred has been reportedly spending our money with £1000 a roll wall paper amongst other things. If i sound bitter its because i am, i used to love this country and would never leave it, now let me out because banks and clowns are running it and none of them have a clue. Can\’t even leave because they will tax me on renting my property, they get you which ever way you go. Anyway, rant over, nothing will happen because nothing ever does and until this country unites to sort out people like Sir Fred we will always be in the brown stuff. To answer your question Piper, no £60.50 a wk isn\’t enough to live on unless you live for free somewhere. Good article just wish the ****ers in power would read pieces like this.

  22. Dot says:

    They tell you you have to search for work up to 90 minutes commuting.You can get travel costs to interviews, 90 mins takes me to London – by train this is a small fortune and I couldn\’t afford a daily commute even when working. You can also claim for smart outfit for interviews. They just don\’t advertise the fact so it can\’t be abused. A fellow job seeker told me they\’d used it but I haven\’t claimed.I actually think voluntary euthenasia has an appeal ……… today they have written and asked how much my small private pension will go up by in April (its £9.45 per month at mo goes up 20p) this is deducted off my rent allowance.time to march to Parliament – be heard!

  23. carl says:

    JSA is a joke minimum wage is worked out on what a person is expected to be able to live on without any assitance or minimum assistance a week, ok maths time £5.73 x 39 hrs = £223.47 after tax about £190, ok so being unemployed maybe should have some degree of hardship entailed with it after all some serial job seekers dont want a job, (but they already know how to play the system and 1 i used to know worked out he couldnt take a job for less than £400 a week with what he can and does claim) i belive that those who have been made recently unemployed through no fault of there own should recieve £120 per week and far more support at what is laughably called Job Centre Plus, my adviser asked me what my job entails when i had explained he advised me he and no one in the centre had any experience in helping a person like me and i would be best helping myself. so not wanting to sit around i have enrolled on a course to brush up on some skills and bring them up to date only to be told my benifit will be reduced during the length of the course as it exceed the 16 hrs a week i can study, so as a note to people if you want to get a job but need to brush up on skills DONT your 60.50 will be cut. Im fortunate my wife works which just keeps us ahead on bills but only leaves us with £100 to spend on food for a month with 3 of us in the house and being as creative as possible we just and only just survive, all i can say is thank god for tesco and asda\’s own brands might not be as healthy as others or as tasty but with a little imagination meals can be just as good. on the plus side of being unemployed i am loosing weight but that may be due to only being able to afford to eat once a day.

  24. Adrian says:

    I had to give up work due to ill health. I had various debts some with the bank, we have been trying to live on £85 benefit per week ( i have £500 per year pension so benefit reduced by £9.61 per week. we meaning wife and self) Bank now wants to take us to court because cannot afford to pay overdraft they have caused.

  25. Stacey says:

    I have recentley been made redundant and I\’m looking for work the only thing is there aren\’t any jobs. I think Job Seekers Allowance is a joke how you suppost to live on less than £50 a week!! I can\’t claim help towards my rent or council tax as my partner that works lives with me and our 1 year old child. My partner is on a very low wage. We only low tax credits and working tax credits as it goes on what you earnt last year and we were both working last year. I DONT agree with long term benifits as people claim them when they are capible of working, however, I think when you have been working for limited time maybe 3 months giving you time to get back into work you should be given benifits at a higher rate. Then after that it shoud be reduceed too a lower rate as if benifits are too much some peope with no self respect would not go back to work and would sit on benifits complaining that they have to go to dole office for less than an hour once a fortnight! (They should try getting a real job!)

  26. Sairah says:

    I\’m probably on my own in my thoughts here. My partner lost his job just before Christmas… he was the sole provider for myself and our 4 year old son. JSA is a lot lower than we previously had, and we still have bills to pay that don\’t disappear just because we don\’t have his wages and tax credits. But we manage. We rarely went out anyway, so while we have to think hard about managing our money to cover the bills, we can still eat healthy meals, and can find ways to have fun that don\’t cost us anything. It\’s not so hard to give up things that are luxury items like chocolate or beer. Of course, we\’re far better off when there\’s a wage coming in.. but it really is ok to make do with things you\’ve got.

  27. Lee says:

    We should all change our ways and put our money under the matress and tell the banks to go *bleep* themselves.

  28. Dot says:

    SairahIts good your coping! I dont go out, rarely buy chocolate,dont smoke or drink, gave up my car. I am single and so it leaves one very isolated. I do voluntary work a few hours a week. Now the weathers better you can go for walks, I walk everywhere as I cant afford the bus. I still cant cope with the bills, everythings gone up but JSA stays the same. I have worked since 15 and raised kids and they all work now. I dont see how its \’OK\’ as you say!

  29. carl says:

    sairahglad your coping although many thousands of us are not, D dont forget JSA does increase by a whopping £4 in april dont go mad and spend it on 2 loafs of bread and 2 pints of milk now.

  30. Jon says:

    Finally!, someone said what we have all been thinking!As a father of one (soon to be two) I have been at home for four years watching my son but not claiming benefits.I am now forced to go back to work as my wifes wage alone CANNOT support us any longer, I applied for jobseekers allowance, thinking I could access a training scheme for long term unemployed people with the local council.Even though this scheme was published in the local Councils\’ "Bulletin", the Jobcentre had never even heard of it, how could that even be possible??????To add insult to injury they won\’t even give me jobseekers allowance – because i\’ve not worked in the last two years, apparently i would qualify if the child benefit was in my name, that would be fine if i hadn\’t closed my bank account when i stopped working (annoyed with the bank…..LOL …how ironic )So, I\’ve lived and (mostly) worked in this country for the last 14 years or so, spent four years as a house husband, need to find work and pay bills, have another child on the way, on top of it all i absolutely must find a job that pays 15k if my wife and i are to own a house…….WHAT DO I GET? – NO HELP AT ALL – NO BENEFIT – NO TRAINING "SCHEME" – EXTREMELY POOR SERVICE FROM PEOPLE WITH A BAD ATTITUDE – NO ADVICE – TREATED LIKE A LEPER BECAUSE THEY DON\’T HAVE A CLUE WHAT THEY\’RE DOING.YES, UNEMPLOYED PEOPLE ARE BEING DISREGARDED REGARDLESS OF MOTIVATION OR INTENTION.YES, THE BANKS ARE GETTING SILVER SPOONFED WHILE THE REST OF US LICK BOOTS FOR NOURISHMENT.YES, THE JOBCENTRE AND THE SUPPOSED SERVICE IT PROVIDES IS JUST AS USELESS AS IT ALWAYS HAS BEEN AND WILL BE, I COULD DO THEIR JOB TEN TIMES AS WELL AS THEY COULD, I UNDERSTAND AND SHOW ACTUAL ATTENTION TO DETAIL. FACT.NO, THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT DOING ENOUGH FOR US, IT ACTUALLY DOESN\’T CARE, AS LONG AS THEIR MIDDLE CLASS LITTLE WORLD KEEPS GOING AROUND THEY WON\’T CARE AT ALL, SO NOTHING WILL EVER BE DONE EFFECTIVELY, ALL WE WILL GET ARE THESE CONTINUAL GIMMICKS, FACADES, FRONTS, HALF RSED SCHEMES AND HAIR BRAINED IDEAS ABOUT WHO SHOULD QUALIFY FOR WHAT.ALL THESE LAZY BUMS RUNNING AROUND CHEATING US OUT OF OUR HARD EARNED MONEY.MOST OF THEM HAVE LITTLE OR NO INTENTION OF EVER GETTING A JOB, YET GENUINE PEOPLE GET TOLD NO WHEN THE BUMS GET A YES EVERY TIME. I\’M SICK OF BEING IGNORED BY THIS SHOWER OF MUPPETS.MAKE A BANK MANAGER YOUR PERSONAL GIMP TODAY.GRAB A BIT OF THE BANK BUILDING FOR YOURSELF, YOU\’RE PAYING FOR IT AFTER ALL……

  31. Cecil says:

    We are now beginning to realise that we live amongst legalized thieves/ extortioners. These men and women that enslave us in their western MATRIX. Have us beleive that we are working for ourselves when in actual fact, every law or legislation protects them. I prefer to work and not take a penny from the govenment. But because of their excessive and unwise spending it as caused us the TAX PAYERS dearly. I feel for those who have lost homes and a sense of dignity. I feel nothing but hate for those who use legislation to bully and deprive its people of the wealth they work so hard for. OUR wealth that these politicians spread amongst themselves, like bank robbers splitting up a hoist.There is a God. And he does not sleep. And nothing is done before the time. Scrooge may be just a christmas time story but there is some truth in it. Let them carry on treating us like MATRIX SLAVES, the tables will turn.

  32. kym says:

    omg thank you for some one else saying it, jsa is not enough to live on me and my partner have been on jsa for 6months since my partner lost his job and we have 5 kids and £110 that we get from them does not cover very much.but to make matters worse my partner has had his new deal,the jobcentre has told him that he has got to work at a shop where we live for 40hours a week to get his dole and a whooping £7.50 a week and also that does not cover the cost of him travling 8 miles on bus to job we have 5 children this will put massive pressure on me and it aint worth the hassle for him to leave the house,dont get me wrong i do want him to get a job but for the whooping £58.50 a week no chance if they had gave him a REAL job like working 40hours a week for say £250 would be worth it but for some reason they think this is going to help us yeah ok then, its more along the lines of slave labour(,i have a friend who is on a scheme just like it its called community service) it would be ok for some one with no kids and bills to school leaver who lives at home with mum and dad but for a whole family 58.50 aint even enough to cover food, travel and other living exspences.what the job centre workers shuld do is try and live for a month on what we get and they wudnt last, maybe if they upped the money and realize that £1.50 does not cover a week shop any more as in the old days good to no that when times change the goverment dont.

  33. kenneth says:

    I have much sympathy with many people on this discussion. My Wife and I are both pensioners and she lost her job two months ago and we are struggling living on our pensions. We have certain debts with HALIFAX (our problem) and we have approached the bank to restructure our repayments. The answer, tell your Wife to find another job and if you can\’t keep up with the repayments we will take you to court. Hang on don\’t we all have a share in this bank and I thought they were supposed to help people when they are in trouble. Have been to the local job centre and they as as usefull as a chocolate fire guard.

  34. philip says:

    the problem is the powers that be are so out of touch with the people in this situation that they are failing to realise what will really help these people ( me included ). I\’ve been made redundant from call centre jobs 3 times in the last 8 years and want to get out of this sector, but as some of the previous comments state if your over 25 there is nothing in place to help, no training schemes no funding and worse still no jobs. I like many, feel i\’m stuck in a rut that i have no idea how to get out of. Last week i went to a funding organisation, and was told that the i couldnt get the funding i need because there isnt enough demand for jobs in that sector !!!!! The job centres appear to be just a register service, i had my six month review and brought in 6 months of applications, turn down letters all filed in order. They didnt even ask to look at it, worse still when i asked what help for re training i could get, they hadnt a clue and referred me to the direct gov site !!!! There apear to be millions of pounds being thrown at this new apprentice scheme, i have registered with it. I checked there was no age restrictions as I\’m 35, and was told by more than 1 person that there wasnt, rubbish its targeted for upto 25 years old and when looking on the site there are hardly any on there for the under 25. The money would be better spent on training the real people out of work, i would say out of the 2 million unemployed ( and rising daily ) at least half are over the age these traing and apprenticeship schemes are targeted at. I\’ve been out of work 9 months now, in that time i could have done at least 1 course that would have got a professional qualification and into work in less than 2 months at a cost of under £1000. But i guess that i\’ll just have to keep signing on till i get another call centre job and hop on the unsecure redundancy train. I\’m just glad i dont have a mortgage and any dependants who rely on me, as i\’m struggling to look at myself with what benefits i get. on a positive note i did get an letter for an interview this morning, so fingers, toes and anything else crossed !!!

  35. Linda says:

    Job seekers allowance is low enough but when I claimed it at the beginning of December it was over 2 months before i got any money. In fact I had got another job before i got any cash. Since I had spent my savings before going through the trauma of applying for a bnefit I found myself using what funds I had to go to interviews rather than buying food. I lost over a stone in weight in those 2 months. I have had to pay national insurance for years which is supposed to provide a safety net but not when it takes over 2 months to pay out what I am entitled too.

  36. james says:

    What we need is a big Prison for unemployed people, where they can serve their sentence applying for jobs. The burden to the tax payer will be more cost efficient if the weaker inmates are culled via euthanasia. V\’s. Raise the minimum wage and restructure the tax system for the good of everyone. Google it. Egalitarianism.

  37. leslie says:

    i think jobseekers allowance is derogatory.people who have worked all their lives for nothing.i remember my father ,who had never been out of work from the time he finished national service ,became unemployed ,and was told at the lob centre when he needed to use a toilet ,that public are not allowed to use these facilites.NOTHING CHANGES for people working the system ,is it hardly suprising when they are robbed of their dignity,and also screwed by the system.

  38. Mark says:

    I can tell you one key flaw the benefit system has and is intentionally created to keep the rich richer and the hard working people at the bottom and that flaw is as follows.If i loose my job and live with my parents or have a mortgage i have to continue to pay my rent to my parents or continue my mortgage payments or face loosing my home and i wont get a penny to help me.However if i am renting privately at an amount higher than whatever the rent to my parents would be or to the bank the goverment will pay that person and pay my council tax even though paying that person cost more? And then after i get kicked out or loose my house and am forced to join the housing register, then they will then finally pay for my rent?This whole system just means filthy landlords who already own multiple homes just keep getting richer and continue to buy the houses the common person cannot buy anymore and then rent it back it to us…The whole system is completely stupid and surely it is more cost effective to give my parents £200 a month or pay the £400-600 mortgage then to pay some filthy rich private landlord £800-1200… And to be honest, living in London, just for a crappy bedsit in Kensingotn & Chelse is like 600-800 a month.The system needs a major overhaul and people with mortgages need real support so the rich dont just keep getting richer!Also, 50 pounds a week isnt enough for anyone to survive if they still have to pay their bills, buy food a drink, the ravel for interviews, clothes. Its a complete joke….

  39. leengem says:

    my dad is almost 60 years old and has worked all his adult life, he was made redundent just before christmas 2008 he is now claiming jobseekers he does get help with council tax payments but is struggling to pay his morgage and other bills why should a hard worker mature man have to struggle like this when he has worked all his life unlike many young people that have not done a days work ever. i think that these sorts of bennifits should be assest on personal circumstance as people like my dad deserver more help than people who have never done an honest days work. what has my dad paid tax for 55 years? he started work at 15 for bristol street motors and lost his job for brooklyn for in december 2008.

  40. Michael says:

    Simply NO!Everything to do with the Job Centre is a joke.The Job Centre has this delusion that less than £50 a week is enough to live on. There doesn\’t seem to be any consideration for people like myself who have loans, etc. Over a month it works out that I get just over £190 and my bills total £187 a month, now i\’m meant to live on less than £10 a month. How would I be able to get to interviews and eat on £3 a month? Thankfully I have people close to me that are helping me out.On several occasions I have heard people getting a warning for being 5 minutes late to their appointments and getting \’threatened\’ to have their benefits taken. How come we can\’t blast the Job Centre for their screw ups and running late? I wasn\’t seen for over 30 minutes once because I had my 13 week review the previous fortnight and for some stupid reason I had been put down as not attending my appointments, which is a load of bull, and they told me that I am in danger of loosing my JSA. Now how does that work? I took them down a notch, I slammed my new JS Agreement on the desk and told them what I think of the system.There is no communication between different departments within the Job Centre, it is just a joke.As for Job Seekers Allowance being enough to live on… that is a huge no. I would love to know where they get the idea that such a little amount is enough to live on.

  41. Terry says:

    This whole corrupt system is about keeping working class people in thier place. At the bottom of the pile. Read robert pestons book, who runs britain and you you really see how the super rich and government have lied to everyone. The poorest and most vunerable will be made to suffer the most just as it has always done. In an ideal world the poor and old would do the decent thing and just die so that they wouldent be a burden on the state, they want your taxes but they really dont want you when you need them.

  42. Jim says:

    I just lost my job and as some of my last 2 years was not paye I have been told i will get nothing despite working for 35 years

  43. Unknown says:

    Mr Redundant and totally qualified, highly technical and professional but no longer required…..?I too am now on Jobseekers with just one year to go before default retirement age…!Because I have saved JUST a little amount considering the many years I will soon have to \’self finance\’ due to NOT having any retirement funds (planned retirement funds went pearshaped-Share company went bust ) and as my wife is too poorly to ever work again, I have now been PENALISED for having said savings albeit meagre and JUST over prescribed limit allowed. This now impacts also on other potential benefits such as council tax rebates…It seems that the long term \’no hopers\’ who had never bothered to save or spent it all anyway get ALL the benefits as did the banking scumbags….Also my other chief whinge IS that the Jobcenter lot are NOT intelligent enough to realise that as we have been FORCED to \’sign up\’, as in an agreement…THEY dictate that WE MUST apply for any old job, JUST to satisfy "the system" despite such vacancies usually being most UNSUITABLE…I.E…Coersed to apply for a job 22miles away at £12 to £14 K pa despite this being WELL under a third of my original wage…I accept I cannot get another post the same as I\’ve always HAD BUT…"reasonable" means "REASONABLE…my outgoings are meager TBH yet exceed £14 k pa Also that its one thing suggesting applying for said \’any old office post\’ BUT MY CV being totally qualified and highly technical doe\’s NOT display ANY EXPERIENCE required to do an office job anyway…? Jobcentres need re-educating to cope with UNEMPLOYED WORKERS….!

  44. gwynneth says:

    Just like all who are feeling the crunch, has anyone thought of people like me, nearly 71 years old with a mortgage to pay, no job and only small pensions to live on. I have worked since I was 15 raised a family and have worked, mainly jobs that even the young wouldn\’t think of doing, but do I get any help? nah……. My husband is unfit to work due to ill health, and I am still expected to live, sorry survive, on the pittance the government dishes out. Stop giving school leavers money before they start earning, I couldn\’t claim anything when I left school until I had paid 24 weeks national insurance, my mother\’s family allowance, of 25p per week was stopped and no other benifits was available,As far as I am concerned this country, even the rest of the world is lead by self centred ,arragant, upperclass idiots who think they know it all. I intend living a long time so there is no chance of some lazy pratt having my money.

  45. Angela says:

    I agree the JSA is a pittance and should really be twice the amount. £60 barely covers groceries and petrol for the week especially if you\’re running around going on job interviews and it easily puts you in overdraft. When I was made redundant almost 2 years ago I signed on because I had paid into the system for years so it was my right that I should receive it. Of course it\’s a humiliating and intrusive experience regardless of whether you\’re over 30 or 50, and fully qualified yet you have to explain yourself to Job Centre staff who have no interest or compassion whatsoever in your circumstances. However luckily for me I am intelligent enough to know how to play the system. When they asked me to sign on each fortnight and queried if I was seeking work and thus show evidence of jobs applied for and temp agencies contacted, I said it is time consuming applying for jobs and also when I go on interviews they say I\’m over qualified but I know it\’s really because I\’m too old to fit into a young team but can\’t prove age discrimination but do they care? No. However you can play them at their own game with temp jobs or casual work. I was able to fit in signing on and off around any temp work assignments especially if a job only lasted a few days. If my temp job was longer than two weeks say, or wasn\’t local so I couldn\’t pop into the Job Centre to sign on, then I would sign off. Then once the job ended I would sign on again straight away and keep the cycle going. It wasn\’t ideal but every penny helped. Within several months one of my temp jobs went long term, then permanent and I was able to sign off for good. But for anyone looking for decent paying jobs at the Job Centre you\’re out of luck. They are all low paid, near minimum wage and definitely no £18-£20k jobs which I was worth. If you need those jobs you either have to look in the papers or go to job agencies. The Gov\’t hierarchy who earn the super salaries have no idea of what it\’s like living in the real world and should get a grip with the working lives of the lower to middle classes.

  46. chris says:

    I became redundant in December 2008 after 25 years of never being out of work, never taken a days sick and never missing paying any taxes. I tried to clain Contribution based allowance but after 3 weeks waiting was told that I didn\’t qualify because in 2007 (the year the Government set the contribution year to be based on) the American company I was working for while living in Dubai forgot to pay my NI contributions. Every other year it was paid. Now I ask you is it fair that because of 1 unpaid year out of 25 years of paying I get refused allowance because of a government set date whereas if I had not been working for many years and had a job for 2 years which covered 2007 I would have received allowance! my feeling on all this is that the allowance should be based on the number of years you pay your NI contributions from working. It is now well into march and I earn monet from odd jobs until something better comes along. i have never been so hacked off with the UK. All the jobs I am currently applying for is outside the UK. I want away from this country, I came from a normal background, worked hard, no university degree but reached a Directors position and high salary, paying over £2000 in tax per month and when i need help from the government I get turned down. So sorry Gordon Brown I will be taking my hard earned cash elsewhere.

  47. Emma says:

    "Mr Halifax sent out a press release this week telling first time buyers they could easily save for a deposit and afford one of their mortgages if they gave up smoking, their morning latte and gym membership"I am Ms First-Time Buyer, and have been saving for a deposit along with the other half Mr First-Time Buyer for over a year. The thing is I gave up smoking months ago, I spend no money through the week (homemade lunches and everything!) and go for runs in the park not the gym. Are we any closer to getting a house? Of course not, the more we save the more they say we need to have for a deposit! And we both work 40+ hours a week with the threat of redundancy hanging over us. So it will be living with the in-laws and younger siblings in a cramped council house for a while yet.

  48. Rob says:

    well after losing a buisness a home and several jobs through goverment legislation (gas industry) and having bosses promise you one thing then once uve signed up they reverse it all cut your hours and wage to an unlivable level then have the job center make you apply for a job that they say will give you £90 a week more than on benafit only to find out they gt the figures wrong and you are actually £20 a week out of pocket i would say the system dosnt work in fact it never has it seems if your in the finance buisness your safe as they throw money at you if not you have at least got your kidneys to sell either that or sell drugs to make ends meet so how do we get a system working then thats fair for everyone well a good start would be national service brought back then they could free up some of the money and training courses they give to the under 25 for older people who actually want to go on then oh another thing they could do is sort out the mp\’s allowance system they would save millions there

  49. Martijn says:

    You forgot to mention the astounding 20% tax on ALL interest earning (apart from the ISA) On an interest rate which is probably around 3% (if not more) under inflation anyway.So your cash is worth 3% less every year and on top of that you get taxed on interest.Would be good if that was scrapped all together for the non-millionairs among us.

  50. jenny says:

    I was appalled by the way the system treats previously hard working individuals. Speaking from my own experience, once you make a claim, you then have to wait approx 4-6 weeks before you are given any money. In the meanwhile, I incurred rent arrears. To addd icing on the cake- I previously received a letter that stated that my national insurance contributions \’run out\’ in May, and my benefits could stop!! Am I not understanding something here?? I have worked since the age of 21, I\’m now in my mid 40\’s – I\’ve never claimed benefits!! What the hell am I expected to do with £60 a week??

  51. Unknown says:

    Having been unemployed for a while now, and not entitled to JSA as my partner earns £120 per week, how do the government expect me and my family (3 Children) to survive. Although we receive all the relevant benefits this earned income is then taken into account for Housing and Council Tax benefit which means we are even worse off. It is about time the whole system of benefits is reviewed to take into consideration the needs of those of us that fall into this situation through no fault of their own. My job was made redundant, I was made homeless as I lived in, lived in temporary accomodation for almost 4 months and have had to fight the system for things that I thought would be entitled too. I have worked most of my life – 40 years, only to be treated like a leper!

  52. Tanni X says:


  53. Sarah says:

    When my partner lost his jobs, we tried to support ourselves as much as possible. I was earning £85 so when I was earning I was earning a good wages. We then had to apply for JSA. That was a joke! We were ask on the phone if were were claiming Prisoner of War benefit (we were are only in our 20s- as they knew).. They told me to allow for another job as I could work for less than 16 hours a week. (was a supply teacher). The jobs they suggested were just stupid, I havea 2.1 degree in International History and International Politics and they suggested that I be apply to be a waitress as, having been a student, I would have some experiance! We both got other jobs before we actually got any money..

  54. Unknown says:

    Money in …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………Money OutIncome Support ………………… £37.70 weekly …………………………………………………………….Rent ……………………….£208.00Carer\’s Allowance ……………… £50.55 weekly …………………………………………………………..Electricity ………………..£200.00State Pension (Mum) ………….£175.81 weekly ………………………………………………………..Water ……………………….£25.00Pension Credit (Mum) …………£16.77 weekly …………………………………………………………Food ………………………….£200.00Total …………………………………….£281.83 ……………………………………………………………………Misc payments ………….£800.00Monthly income = £1127.32 ………………………………………………………………………………..Approx monthly expenditure £1333.00So to enable me and my mother to pay our nearest bills we sometimes have to forego FOOD as this is an expensive item.

  55. Graham says:

    A lot of people are stressing that the job seekers allowance is not enough yet i bet these people would have said two years ago that it was good that it was low to stop lazy bums from abusing the system …. now the shoe is on the other foot and it doesn\’t quite fit so well.I too is now on job seekers and find it a challange to manage with out the luxuary items etc but i am at odds to whether it needs increasing? i just want a job earning what i was and going back to the lifestyle that i had which wasn\’t flash at all but it was happier etc.. now that , will be a very long time comming

  56. Graham says:

    oh and another thing?.. why is the job centre called the job centre when it has no actual jobs to give?? the only jobs going are from recruitment agencies advertising thru the job centre plus network looking for the odd shift here , there, for 2 days here 3 days there??? and the pay on these really sucks

  57. Gina says:

    If someone who is on JSA for say 5 years and has no intention of working they should keep the rate at standard rate however, if someone who has been made redundant in the last year is claiming then they should get around 50% of their previous income (ie someone on 15k gets 7.5k to live on over the year). The money should come from the bank bosses bonuses me thinks! However whilst this comment cause some remarks I shall say it again, this should only apply to those who have lost their jobs in the past year.

  58. Gina says:

    Plus we are going to be homeless as the local council refusing to pay our rent despite being on JSA! Partner will still have to look for work or she will lose money from her benefit, it is our only income so no food for us soon.

  59. Mikey says:

    England sucks, always has, always will, Labour needs to go!.This is my 2nd time on the dole, i lost my job because i was not trained and guess what, i was replaced by some ****ing immigrant!. I would like to ask people how Jobseekers is better than working, i will tell you its plain trash. People go on there because there are no jobs for 100% pure born brits. I sent so many CV\’s out waaaaaay before the credit crunch, guess what…no job avaliable. I even went to Westminster to look for a job, guess what, no job avaliable. I must have spent more money looking for a job than earning. Yes some people use the seekers to there advantage, but i want to earn money through work, so i can have a good decent life and gain new friends down the line, but earning £90 every 2weeks is nothing. £30 to both my parents per month, £35 to gym per month and the rest is for getting food, clothes, mobile, oyster etc. Ive now been doing work experience for the past 3 years in different places…and guess what…yep im sure you know it…no job. I was even told i was a bl**dy hard worker, better than some paid one\’s in the stores i did work experience in. I feel so hurt knowing ive been considered a scrounger just because companies wont train new comers. Ive noticed every placement ive been in has different ways in doing somthing and so the work experience from the placement before the one i started becomes useless. I am sorry if my comment sounds harsh, but theres no way Job seekers is good. Ive had to cut down on going out with mates to the cinema, clubbing. Honestly i have not been since 2007 because ive been trying to pay towards the house and all. I feel sorry for everyone that have lost there jobs because of the credit crunch etc. Trust me when i say, you will now see how difficult it is getting a job again. Its been 5-6 years since i left school, ive only had one paid job, just one, i lost it because i was not trained, got replaced by an immigrant as i said above. I was told by my parents, people in there days where very lazy, and now its been brought upon there children, like me and anyone else at the age of 20. Understand its going to be far worse in the future =[

  60. Denise says:

    gina go on there girl right on denise

  61. Robert says:

    Its absloutely dicusting i was working for a community centre and lost my job due to the current finacial markett and they could no longer afford to pay me, So now im on JSA, a couple weeks ago I started A NVQ 2 in warehousing but this is all voluntary based, anyway i inform the job centre who admit they don\’t put people on proper courses anymore, and congratulte me then for the last 4 weeks they done nothing but call me in for back to work interviews even during my training hours which are only 6 a week and then inform me that doing a nvq is wasting my time that could be spent on a job search. Never mind my workplacement are looking to employ me once i gain the qualification. WTF? lets see you won\’t help me get the qualifications i need, im being offered a job upon completion of the NVQ but im obvisouly not doing enough acording to the Job Centre, so they cut my money for a fortnight while ive got rent to pay and a 8 month old to raise just so they can turn around and then tell me im doing the right thing afterwards. Ive worked hard all my life and this treatment doesn\’t make any sense when i can prove all the things im doing im only thankfull that my work placement have backed me up and wrote several letters of complaint to them. I just want to know what makes them think that someone who has worked hard all their life is no going to try and start playing the system? The people who have been doing this for years should be punished, but not those who can prove how hard their are trying especialy with a job centre that offers absloute F.A. help anyone who is a legitimate hard working person and can prove that they are really trying should be given a reasonable amount of money lest face the bankers have far too much since they can still award ridiculous sized bonuses ***kers!Also to all those in a situation similar to my own who have to deal with those incoptent *SS holes that work at the job centre, i wish you all the best you deserve a medal for dealing with those idiots.

  62. Mark says:

    Been on JSA for, oooh, 9 months now. The Job Centre has been pretty good. Not perfect, but pretty good. But then I\’m polite, treat \’em with respect and don\’t get shirty.If you\’re behind with the rent, or the first dole cheque hasn\’t arrived yet and you\’ve got naff-all to buy food with, ring up and tell \’em. They\’ll likely sub you a bit to tide you over. Same if you get an unexpected bill/your boiler breaks down etc.JSA and housing benefit isn\’t a lot, but it\’\’ll put a roof over your head and (pasta based) food on the table. Fags and booze will be a problem, as will running a car. A few tips:Don\’t shout, swear or be nasty to the poor sods behind the desk. They give you £60 in exchange for applying for 2-3 jobs a week. Money for almost nothing. Can\’t be bothered to do that? No one is forcing you to get JSA.Forget the expensive-to-rent house, the car, fags, nice food, holidays or getting wasted every weekend. You\’ll get more than enough to survive on, not quite enough to /live/ on. That\’s the idea. Get a job, or get used to being poor.p.s to \’No Name\’; cut out some of that £800 a month \’miscellaneous payments\’and you\’ll be fine. Poor, but fine.

  63. Samantha says:

    Ive been on JSA a few times over the last few years. Because i only tend to get temporary jobs i have to sign off and sign on again all the time. It has gotten a lot easier to apply, just simply phone up and answer questions and no forms to fill in all the time. I had claiming JSA but have no choice. The rate goes up in April, but still doesn\’t cover what i have to pay out every fortnight. My dad had been put on a 4 day, then a 3 day week and we were just about managing. Now he\’s been put on sickleave due to a heart condition. Now even with my JSA its still not enough to live on. If they increase the rate, it might encourage more people to claim when they dont need too. But it would help those who need help. If you compare the rates in the US, its a lot lower. But in the US, you can only claim for 12 months and then its reviewed. No going to the jobcenter. I dont know if this would work over here. There\’d be more people claiming and working. I have thought about it couldn\’t do it. I want to work and need to work. I used to be one of those people who didnt want to go out to work, until i got a full time job. And loved going out to work. I\’ve had 2 permanant job (although one only last for a year) and 2 temp jobs. But nothing since September last year. I find going into the job center every fortnight a nightmare. You feel like your less than useless. In a recent helping get back to work interview. We now have to apply for a job up to 90 minutes from home, one way. They must thing we all have cars. I\’m relyant on public transport and the first bus isnt till 7.30am in the morning and no way could i travel to Stoke/Burton on Trent in 90 minutes. They need to take this into consideration when they make these rules. I\’ve applied for no end of jobs in the last few months. Some dont even bother responding. JSA is a last resort for me. My dads in the process of applying for rent and council tax rebate. Last time my mom went to enquire and they said that because there are other people living in the house, it was up to us to pay the rent. Our rent is £65 a week. My dad will earn about £40 sick pay, cause he was only on a 3 day week. I get £62 a week. I have my own debts which go over that amount every week. I can\’t wait for this recession to be over.

  64. Janet says:

    Welcome to the real world this is what you are really worth to your country and your government. They would prefer you dead, you would be cheaper more expedient; however since the last holocaust it is politically injudicious to be too obvious about such things. Power to the people not the property. Don\’t blame the banks, hold your polly-tician parrots to account. Tyburn is more appropriate for the present administration. Traitors. Yes people, we have all been had by some particularly nasty controlling ones. In or out of the dreaded WORK what work? The Employers are on the defensive more than usual and the Brownie party are digging in to collect revenue from the retail banks as stakeholders, unselfishly of course, no thought of their own pensions. HA HA. The cost of living is beyond what the average wage earner has time or opportunity to earn. If anyone starts whinging about guilt and slavery believe me it is alive and well in the targets of the exploiter, the guilt trip was only to change the role play not the record. Shall we move on?

  65. ann says:

    my husband used to run his own 2 man business until i took ill. he is now my full time carer and we get income support and carers allowance plus DLA which pays for our car which is needed as i cant walk .(only a few steps.)people who cant work such as us due to no fault of our own should get more money a week. WE ARE STUCK AT HOME COS CANT AFFORD PETROL TO AV A RUN OUT!!! i now suffer with depression as well. an extra 20 pound a week would be something.

  66. Bill says:

    In yesteryear, eveyone was forced back into employment after only 3 months on benefit. Today most are forced onto Incapacity benefit after 1 year, in order to massage the figures. We also have a scheme to assist us back into employment, which appears impossible to operate. I have attempted to join it many times since I last worked, 27/06/01.Equally apparent, there are 11,000 vacancies for Transport Technicians, but with only 35 years experience, no one needs me. I have had many interviews, but there is no hope that anyone will ever communicate the results. The law should force them into a written decision within 7 days, complete with reasons. It will never happen.Despite many years no-claims bonus, previously at up to 2,000 miles/week, oft in excess of 200 tonnes, my car insurance appears to have risen at least 50% since last year. It had already increased 20 fold (2,000%), since 1968, the road tax only 12 fold in 40 years. Is this a reward for my increasing experience?I now only drive 10,000 miles/annum, @ 3.5 tonnes max. at my own expence. I do not drink or smoke, therefore do not pay revenue on those. I mix veg oil 50% with my diesel, it stinks, but is still yet legal, & it helps. I have had my benefit stopped or reduced to 40% so many times, sometimes I wonder if they are attempting to drive me out of the country.Where to, and on what, please?I spent 17 years in exile previously, as there was no hope/space for an ex-squaddy/Master Techie in this country back then.

  67. Bill says:

    Sorry!Forgot to say, that every time they stop the benefit , it takes at least 3 months for the tribunal to re-instate, therefore so many eviction threats and proceedings, for rent/council-tax arrears etc. Apparently, I still yet have a right to live, but not in a nice cosy bus-shelter!It is not my fault if the home-office mistakenly denied me the right to employment, 27/06/01, and persist with that despite a ruling of the district judge, 02/03/07. Apparently, sometime twixt March 2002, and September 2005, the home office discovered that I had, and still yet have, a "severe mental illnes". Seven years on, no one has offered any form of precise diagnosis, and no form of therapy, but I now discover that my own (ex-)GP was informed from the beginning. In 2003 I was denied an op for both cataracts, as it was too late, 6 months later thesurgeon refused to operate when I already had all the anaesthetic, and the SHO, volunteered to operate. One month later, 01/2004, the same surgeon volunteered to do the second eye!Beware, all medics in UK are civil service. Never complain that they only open to the pubic 16 hrs, rare weeks, for a mere pittance of at least £110,000/a. + bonuses!You wil suffer the consequences!Obviously, I have no idea what causes my political/health problems!

  68. Simon Fielder says:

    What an excellent view on life. Last year I earnt over £ 80,000.00 (self employed). In December I was told by my agency that I was "over 95% certain" of my next project, starting in January. Even a contact name of the company whom I was supposed to be working for. So far this year, I have had not a single days work. My rent is over £ 900.00 per month, my car payment over £ 600.00, which I cannot sell because I now owe more on it than its worth. I have to have a 3 bedroom house because of my kids needing somewhere to sleep when my ex-wife lets them stay. When I sign on, they look at me with confusion when I tell them I really not only want to work but have to work. Never mind the government gives me a total of £ 700.00 per month to live on. If this carries on, I will have to move into my mums flat as I can\’t afford to live. But at least my bank \’BARCLAYS\’ loves me? It must do. it writes to me at least twice a week and phones daily demanding to know when I will pay them the £ 352.00 I owe them. I\’m thinking of selling an arm any ideas?Simon

  69. Nicki says:

    I was made redundant at Christmas and have been extremely lucky to find another job, I started last week. Being on jobseekers is impossible longterm, but it wasn\’t the coping with no money or the lack of self esteem that got to me, but the payments that have been made to the big fat bankers, it is obscene to allow this to carry on. Joe Bloggs deserves to be treated with more respect.

  70. Claire says:

    And Mr Halifax failed to point out that if you were saving for a deposit only using the "spring cleaning" method they suggest then to save the 25% deposit required for a £150,000 property would take over 20 years. It\’s such a shame that hard working people are suffering for the folly of the big institutions and governments.I am lucky because my job is safe for the time being but there is no way I\’d be able to survive on the money the government hands out. I don\’t live particularly extravigantly but those payments wouldn\’t even cover my bills let alone my mortgage so food, petrol (well the car in general) and anything else I need to live (light warmth etc) would be totally out of the question. It\’s disgusting that people can\’t even get a bit of leeway or help from the bank to help tide them over anymore.Tilly

  71. kel says:

    You all seem to be so concerned with money, no-one stops to think about people who have to fight day in day out just to keep thier kids alive at least for most of you, get your rent and council tax paid, money (which is enough to survive if you budget) in your pocket. for people who have managed to keep some work (like me) its a very different story. i have 2 children to feed and keep a roof over thier heads but with a peanut in my pocket each week. because i earn just 5k a yeah im not entitled to any help from the government. my kids have dry cereal for breakfast and very often have soup or beans on toast for tea 7 days a week. i cant afford to buy things for lunch so very often they will have breakfast at 7 then nothing (apart from when they are at school) till 6.30. my doctor has written to the useless benefits agency on many occasions stating that i need some form of financial help because my childrens health is suffering. we cant get the help we are entiltled to that we need to survive without being in danger of malnutrition because the government care about none of us and selfish arses dont give a damn and most of the population of GREAT (my arse) BRITAIN think about nothing but themselves. my 3 year old daughter ended up in hospital and they still wont help us …. and by the way simon fielder you dont NEED a 3 bedroom house which costs £900 pm their is such a thing as sharing a room

  72. patrick says:

    its crap, and why do they take off 3 days on your first claim?? get the bail out to the right people US not to the eastern europeans not to the bank who have failed, (we would of been scaked for less)its our tax money give it to us and we wil spend it hence the recovery starts back on track, why did you bring in min wage when the rest of europe has not??? who is paying for the rent on private houses where the eastern europeans are living. WE ARE and if you complain your a bmp member!!! get a grip britain lets stop this now lets have a week of action nothin to do with the stupid sumit just not go to work, all are money has gone to the upper class who have failed at their jobs and then pay them and the staff a bounus for doing it and we sit here taken the stiff one eye???WHY what has happened when a british firm TDG gave a french contract to a eastern european transport firm and left 10 fully trained english drivers unemployed? NOTHING. why is the dvla giving eastern europeans FULL LORRY LICENCES WHEN THE HAVE NEVER DRIVEN OR PASSED ANY HGV TEST EVEN IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY, TO PROVE IT ASK YOUR LOCAL MP TO SHOW YOU THE PASS DETAILS FOR THE DRIVERS? you will get nowt, same as any other skill also they work with your kids but their is no police background check done!!! but they can still work with them, they can go as fast as they like on the motoways the police wont stop them but kent police will go over to france to nick the british driver for speeding!!!wake up britains we are third class in are country NOW YOU NEED TO AS WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  73. patrick says:

    kel your a mug! you are in the state you are because your british and not worth a £ your money is spent on crooks both side of the classes and to the influx of non british workers who have more rights than you or us, do yourself a favour have a look at nothing to declare on living tv and look how austrailer deals with illegals! straight back on the plane of the company who took them over,but we must build nice holding centres for them to burn and remember in a war/terror zone its the first place of saftey they seek help but no they want britain/usa/canada to build thier temples change the laws so its in there favour let them take time off work to pray and of course still get paid for it,but hey even when they spit and scream hate and threats at are brave troops in bedford uk the cps wont take they to court and deport them and their families also how many of they were on the dole??? should they have been looking for work? i bet they still get paid , lets go over to chingford and the holiday inn letting the muslims in to hear hate messages from expelled "leaders" yet if the BMP or NF or US wanted to use the hall to complain we would never been able to book it so wake up kel we are third class here, i dont know where you live but here in swindon the muslims are up in arms over getting parking tickets as they parked illegal for years without getting a ticket on pray day, now when you consider one country which i wont name pulled down a statue to charlie chapplin as it was to close to a temple. no it was not britain

  74. patrick says:


  75. V says:

    Having always been a pessimist through my entire life to much amusement of my friends and most of my family, in 2005 I jumped ship and immigrated to Spain. I was not your usual lottery winner, well off, or an OAP who decided to head overseas for a better life. In fact I am none of those. I moved purely because I already began to see the early signs of a decline. I did not have a crystal ball to consult with, nor did I consult any Tarot palm readers. To me it was pretty obvious that I could build a better life. So I sold up, quit my job of 12 years and took a gamble. Well I must say – the gamble has paid off. I don\’t want to launch into rhetoric of how good life is here, because it is not perfect, in fact it is hard work, but it is fair. I very rarely attempt to debate this topic with those who have never lived abroad long term, mainly because they will never understand the fact that it is not all sun, surf and sea. That is what they see when they come here on holiday. I live in what you would describe an average community which is a mix of expats such as myself and working Spanish. It is nothing like you would see on the glorified \’\’Place in the Sun\’\’ or other holiday shows. Yet I pay a small fraction of what an average Brit would for council tax, and mine includes a daily (yes daily) rubbish collection, private security and free sat TV. I do no have 3 bins and do not have sort my rubbish and then to pay for the priviledge. I live in an area which has virtually no crime because the system state punishment is feared and actually works. There are no daily stabbings or shootings, there are no ASBOs. My petrol is cheaper. My car tax is only 52 Euros per year, in UK it would be almost triple. My broker is Lloyds of London yet I am paying 40% less for insurance in comparison to UK. I can afford to eat healthy organic food which does not cost a fortune just because it has a pretty polythene bag over it. I can afford to leave my car at home since public transport here actually works, and I have never been late to work once just because my wife needed to use it. Public transport does not cost a fortune here neither. Since I work and pay taxes I get free health care. If you are in need of a specialist appointment such as CAT or MRI scan you would have to wait no longer than 10 days, and if you have private health insurance you could get one same day WITHOUT an appointment, as I found out. You can\’t claim benefits here unless you have worked for at least for 1 full year, and paid into the system, there are no exceptions. And if you are made redundant, you can claim 70% of your annual salary unless you are self employed. What I pay for my electricity and gas would make any Brit go green with envy. The utility bills here were on average 20% cheaper even when the oil was at $140 a barrel, I was living here I should know. But then again you dont have to take my word for it. This isn\’t paradise, it is how it is here.So it brings me to one question, why do so many Brits keep believeing the drivel delivered to them by the incompetent government?? Why do you think so many competent, professional people keep leaving UK to live abroad??? Is it because they seek a glamorous lifestyle or is it because they seek a balanced lifestyle which actually fair??? Personally I was always of opinion that we elect a government to serve the people, not the other way around. And I refuse to live to work, when I can work to LIVE!!

  76. patrick says:


  77. Unknown says:

    If we still had 1970s prices, and a 1970s cost of living, the mininum wage would be quite reasonable and jobseekers allowance would be just about adequate. However, the cost of living is now 8 times what it was then. It\’s about time JSA and the minimum wage were brought into the 21st century. I\’m sure that MPs don\’t think that their £63,000 salaries are unreasonably high, so how do they expect anyone else to be able to live on £10,000 a year or less, if they couldn\’t? They can also top up their salaries by claiming expenses for day to day living, and their expenses can exceed their salaries. We need some really radical changes to our financial systems, and we need them now. The real reason for the financial mess this country is in, is because there are far too many people who not only have no spare cash, but don\’t even have enough for the basic essentials of life in the 21st century. Businesses are suffering from lack of customers, yet they pay their workers a pittance. Haven\’t our business leaders enough common sense to realise that every one of their employees is someone\’s customer?

  78. patrick says:

    good vladski29649 now take the rest of the eastern block with you and try and get some real passes over there i know from living there you are talking crap and must still be in the uk, as spain is like france which i think is right jobs for their own no jobs for U so go home stop robbing britain you cheat

  79. patrick says:

    spot on tracey its out of order whats going on , go ask my statements to you local mp who will reply in a letter do not take their crap, dont you all think that the mp\’s should be staying in london hotels and support the industry instead of having a second home WHICH WE PAY FOR and in return for all that when we have it bad so very bad we get jsa with the first three days taken off it? tracey i really wish you well and if the people strike i hope you join it if your employed or not this stinks

  80. David says:

    2 ideas for MPS that claim so many expenses A) get them all to stay in ex army barracks or do up an old hotel etc near parliment for them to stay in B) other situation is that because it is taxpayers money they are throwiung away and keeping we should get it back, when they are finished being an MP force them to sell their second home with all the purchase made by the taxpayer and put all the money including any profit back into the taxpayers pot, if they then all stay so close to work they should be forced to encourage a green image and cycle or walk everyday like the millions of other people do. Simon felder says he is getting £700 a month when I was on benefit I got £90 a fortnight!!!! should we all as owners of the banks vote for no confidence with the current boards and elect someone who has a proven track record and the same goes for this so called labour government I never voted for gordon brown did anyone else in the public vote for him to be PM? if anyone else ran a business they way our government or banks for that matter have been run you would been hung drawn and quartered!!!

  81. patrick says:


  82. will says:

    After reading through comments can understand peoples feelings. There is a lot of unrest and bad feelings among people and rightly so. Things will not get any better for the near future either. The complete mess the country is in will take a long time to rectify. All goverments are the same no matter who is in power. They promise every thing to get in an then just line there own pockets. Its already a police state an there is so much corruption its unbelivable. We have all become too complacant and dont stand up for our selves or rights any more. Successive goverments have dummed the system down and made it that unlawful, you cant express any dissapointment without fear of criminal intent. The whole system needs to be changed so people come first not politicians. Not sure how it should get changed without people revolting against it but maybe we could all agree on having a coallition goverment so all politicians work together to get the country out of the desperate state its in now. I no this is asking the impossiable but at least one can dream . A positive note i that it can only get better with time .

  83. ian says:

    haing read the comments from some of you, i am srry too say. it dosen\’t make any difference. the jolly fat boys upstairs, with their big houses posh living standards, don\’t care. people have ben asking for changes for yrs. the price of food goes up above inflation, yet jobseeker and any other bennefit dosen\’t keep up. most f us struggle to pay the bills, ie , gas electric etc when we are working, yet get onto bennefits, and gorden brown and every other big wig, says we can live and survive and suposedly above the poverty line. love to see them give up 50% of their wages and perks, yes the perks. housing claims, 14000 pounds one has claimed, yet what do they earn, 50, 60 , 80, 100,000 a year, andthey can\’t afford to pay with out claiming perks. it all boils down to class again, he rich keep the rich going , but sorry jack, your on your own. i think it has coe to a point where we have to look at the reality of wages . bennefits. regardless too it all, take a look at the average house hold running costs, sto the bonus payouts, and stop looking after all the people coming here from abroad for the hand outs. before you let them in make sure they can afford too look after them selves for 5 yrs before any payout is givern. make sure that they earn the right. stop paying out 27 million for kids who don\’t even live in this country. about time we started looking after our second class citizens, the british man woman and child. instead of every other person from every other country. then we might be able to give a little more to the standard of those on bennefits. ( by no means of their own doing ) but those who have sat on claiming because they have no get up and go, stop payments and get them into goverment schemes, and learn a trade for payment. we have a shortage of professional trades men now because of stupidity of past goverments. gordon Brown. don\’t you think you should really be on your wage ?? i think that after you raided the pensions, and many other schemes, don\’t you think you too should be held accountable for some of the mess we are in. i think you should at least take a humble wage of 9.50 anhour, and use a clock card to prove you have done it like the rest of us, and put the rest back into the pocket you robbed along with all top company directors and mp\’s. and also, stop the idea of putting people into jobs, who don\’t know what they are talking about, ie people who have been their done the job, not the people who only read and understand what a text book has told them. and pop out f uni, straight into the job with out havng first experienced what they preach..

  84. patrick says:

    willbillyboy we have the power yes we do all you said was right if we stand together we have that power to select who is right for us the british on all fronts we could do this without riots which i no some groups will try and claim also the police will bend over to number 10 and blame certain groups, no this needs to come from us the real backbone of britain we should have the big salarys because we earnt it

  85. patrick says:

    ian its because you i and the rest of the real brits gave up without a fight your verse is right remember we have to have all the right paperwork showin what we can do, non british dont plus they dont have police record checks done as there is no trace of them in there own land its time to stop this crap

  86. patrick says:


  87. ian says:

    sorry about the spelling, . but to be honest, it is time that the british people, stood up, i hold my hands up, as i did give up, as every party is the same, every promise made by the pm, and mp\’s, is broken. give out with one hnd, and take back trebble with the other. but mostare too blind too see it. but it is time we did stand up , and start the ball roling again to help ourselves. what out, mi 5 mi 6 and every other goverment department will now look at us as trouble makers. mark my words. we are in for one hell of a ride. taxes are going to crucify us all over the next few yrs. as gorden brown isgiving now, but he or the next goverment is going to claw it back plus more, they have no option. gorden had to have seen this coming before he took power. my farther said in 06, if gordon gets into power, then we will suffer , and suffer like times not seen before the 80\’s collapse, good thing he didn\’t survuve to see it happen. gordon, you are going to go down in history, for being this countries biggest mistake, and blaire can take some of the blame.

  88. gail says:

    well sorry ppl have lost jobs an all, but those same ppl attacked those on jobseekers etc for being scroungers , so i have no sympathy welcome to jobseeker world and poverty

  89. patrick says:

    goodnight all hope tuesday lets your dreams come true take care lets hope we get a firm grip on this, i am up for it,

  90. patrick says:

    on that note ian the torys said they could not cut tax as the pot was empty!!!10 months later big payout happened come on ask your local mp, look at the facts i have made get them to answer, i must go, good nite keep safe chin up but make your local mp answer to you thats their job

  91. ian says:

    thanks patric, good night , cheers,

  92. Kym says:

    Well Patrick, ins\’t this the British culture whereby we constantly whing about the problems and not try and take a stand against the system. I paid into the system since the age of 16. It wasn\’t till later in my working career that I realized how much the Gov where screwing me that i decided to leave and yes i have experienced JSA. Hated it, understand all the comments that everyone has portrayed on here, the employee\’s of the Job Centres are just monkey grinders (i think they also should be up against the wall with the rest of them). I now live in a not so developed country as an expat earning not as much money as i would back in UK but at least i\’m not getting screwed in taxes to my eyeballs. cost of living is much lower than UK, great weather and i get to diversify and experience a new culture. I used have credit cards, bank accounts with the Halifax not anymore, i have nothing but contempt for the bank directors and the S&#T they have put this country in. The only trade off has been that I now see my family & friends less but in the age of internet that takes the edge off being homesick. If i were a working man in UK i would try and gather and raise the suffering people against the establishment. I urge you all to spend that JSA money to travel down to #10 and give "Brown" a piece of your mind. Better still just don\’t vote "Labour" anymore.

  93. robert says:

    I agree you get what you paid for,My contract at 21 many years ago was I\’m paying for unemloyment benefit,pension,welfare,andhealth,at one point this was 50% of my income as a productive worker NOT a poncer/scrounger in civil service.I intent to start proceedings that these has been taken offf me by civil service without reducing their costs,or mine and without any compensation or alternative arrangments or advice.I do agree a huge maladministration what you paid for and what you receive,any standard has been manipulated to protect thenon productive services when the opportunity arose some 5 times to employ only those of 30years minimum of prductive workfor the country and its people,and those for medical reason cannot do productive work,in the civil service.Never a propaganda programe what the rights are of such a maladmistration by BBC or other media has ever been investicated.

  94. naomi says:

    If you think you are hard done by what about people on carers allowance. the rate is identical to JSA but the recipient has to prove they spend 40 hours a week caring for someone and to top it off. the person who receives the care loses an identical amount from their benefits. how is that fair?

  95. V says:

    \’\’patrick wrote: good vladski29649 now take the rest of the eastern block with you and try and get some real passes over there i know from living there you are talking crap and must still be in the uk, as spain is like france which i think is right jobs for their own no jobs for U so go home stop robbing britain you cheat ——————————————————————————————————————————————————Patrick. I felt obliged to reply, since it seems that your mouth is bigger than your brain. Engaging it from time to time my actually help you in life.First of all just because my name is Vladimir does not mean I came from the eastern block to \’\’rob\’\’ taxes from your \’\’hardearned\’\’ contribution. In fact my mother\’s side has distant family members who originally came from Russia. My father is English, and for your information I am a British citizen. Secondly, I actually do reside in Spain. I can assure you that since 2005 I have not been living in UK and that Spain is my pernament country of residence. Now that we got that out of the way, let me ask you this, and I hope you would give me an HONEST answer. Have you actually lived and worked in either France or Spain, for any length of time??? Any country apart from UK for that matter??? Or does your experience of those countries relies purely on what you have seen on holidays or what you have read in the British tabloids and the \’\’unbiased\’\’ BBC coverage? Just a few more bits of info, in fact at one point I was working and living in France. I worked at a Michelin factories at Bourges and Montceau-les-Mines. Throughout my life I have worked in various countries around Europe, Africa and middle East. So despite your verbal outburst, I think I would know better, since I actually resided in some of these countries for a lot longer than you would spend holidaying there. You rightfully point out that the countries such as France and Spain have problems with unemployment, I cannot disagree with that. But when I posted my initial post, I did point out, although perhaps not clearly enough, that a professional person with good/exceptional education and good employment record would have no problem starting a new life, whether it might be in Europe or anywhere else for that matter. In fact, and you may be aware of it, but some countries, such as Australia specifically headhunt people with certain professions who are willing to relocate.You say I should go home and stop robbing Britain. Britain IS my home despite the fact that I no longer live there. And any thought of returning there gives me the creeps to be honest, but getting into that sort of debate would be a rather incensitive of me considering the fact that I would only be repeating what other people have posted here. I could not really care less if you believe it or not, but I have never ever claimed a single benefit, simply because I never had to. The last time that anyone from my family claimed any benefits related to myself specifically, would be my mother claiming the child benefit YEARS ago. And I assure you that I over the years I would have paid more into the system than people like yourself. I don\’t mean to offend you but perhaps someone should actually bring you down to earth.The reason why I posted here to start with, is because I see a lot of professional people in UK who are reluctant to leave UK to start a better life elsewhere, mainly due to their roots, family and friends, not because they don\’t want to. But that does not automatically mean that they will fail if they attempt it. Patrick, and a bit of advice for the future. If you attempt to debate this, at least ensure that you provide a solid argument or facts to back up your point, rather than automatically assume that someone is a benefit claiming immigrant just because they might have a name you dislike.

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