Monday, 1 April 2013

Funemployment - The IDS Challenge

The Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has said that he would be able to live off £53 a week the amount that one Benefit Claimants states he has after the costs of rent and bills have been met. This news comes after IDS was on the BBC Radio Four Today Programme defending the upcoming cuts and changes that will be being made to the Welfare System. On the programme IDS stated that if forced to then he would be able to live off this figure.

For some reason this news that a person can live off £53 a week seems to be completely shocking despite the fact that this is what thousands of unemployed people do every week. Based on the comments section of The Daily Torygraph website it would seem that the shock stems from the fact that most seem to have casually missed the phrase 'AFTER rents and bills have been met'. While the article does not define what 'bills' actually covers it would be fair to assume that it covers gas, electric, water, mobile etc but most likely not food, transport or entertainment. In other words you would be left with £53 to feed and entertain yourself.

The Welfare System was introduced as a safety net for those who have fallen on hard times so that they would be able to buy food and shelter etc for themselves until they get back on their feet. However, somewhere along the line this idea has been lost and it is now viewed by some as a career option - what's the point in working if the State gives me the money for free? It is this kind of attitude that the reforms are clearly aiming to stop.

Without going into great detail the basic Human Rights of a person are;
1) the right to life
2) the right to clean and safe water
3)the right to a healthy or adequate environment
4) the right to reproduce
5) the right to refuse to kill
in other words a person living in the UK legally needs to have access to food, water and shelter. However, in the UK we are more accustomed to a higher standard of living than it is possible to have while on benefits. £53 a week will buy you food (value rather than Waitrose Finest) what it will not buy you is alcohol, cigarettes, fast food, an Xbox or a holiday to Spain. These things are classified as luxury goods and are the things to buy once you have a job and disposable income.

So, to defend poor old IDS, who seems to have gotten a lot of stick for his claim that he could live off £53 a week, it is possible. It may not be fun, enjoyable or ideal but it is possible, you may need to make some rather drastic lifestyle changes and adapt but no one ever died from not being able to play Xbox, watch Sky TV or travel first class to Disney Land. If you want these things then the solution is simple - work for them. Life isn't fair so stop expecting the moon to be handed to you on a stick but go and get the moon yourself.

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