Thanks very much for all your comments on ‘Mr Bank vs Mr Jobless’ – my blog entry on how unfair it is that the banks get billions in bailouts, yet if you’ve lost your job through no fault of your own, you get a pittance and have to grovel for it.
I’ve been busy reading through them over the past 24 hours. Some of your stories filled me with despair, while others made me angry. There are so many common threads. Individual circumstances differ, but almost all of you say the same things: how long it takes to get the Jobseeker’s Allowance, how impossible it is to live on it and how poorly many of you feel you’ve been treated by the system and its staff.
But among the many comments, one sentence on the guest book caught my eye:
“Instead of blogging about the injustice of life, do something about it.”
Philip makes a good point. Moaning in cyberspace is all very well, but does it get us anywhere? Some of you say it’s made you feel better to read other people’s comments and know that you’re not alone. But venting your spleen isn’t putting any more money into your pocket. Well, Philip’s comment has got me thinking. Perhaps we could try to do a little something about it. It might not be much, but I’m thinking of starting a petition to raise the Jobseeker’s Allowance and improve the lot of Mr and Ms Jobless in general.
What I’d like to know from you is this: how much do you think the Jobseeker’s Allowance should be a week? What would be realistic? Would £100 a week be enough? Or should it be at least doubled to £121? Last year when I did a challenge to live on the equivalent of the state pension, my partner DJ and I had £104 a week to live on (assuming no savings) and from listening to pensioners relying on it, I saw how difficult it was for many to make ends meet. But unlike many pensioners, jobseekers may have a mortgage, dependant children and they may need to travel to look for work. So what would be sufficient and are there other benefits that you would like to see? Is it fair that jobseekers under the age of 25 only get £47.95? Should there be more financial assistance with rent and mortgage payments?
Besides raising the allowance to a figure it’s possible to live on, from your comments it’s clear something needs to change within the Jobcentre system too. Unemployed people should be treated fairly and with dignity, not like Oliver Twist. Plus from what you say, there seems to be a lack of useful training programmes for the over 25s and an understanding among Jobcentre staff of the recruitment process for skilled or white collar jobs. So perhaps these are other things to include in a petition.
How much should the Jobseeker’s Allowance be a week? What would you add to a petition to improve the lot of jobseekers? Leave a comment and let me know.
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