Unemployment can hit (almost) anyone in this hire-and-fire environment. The state is there to give a helping hand until circumstances have changed (a new position / job is found). In an ideal world this is how the situation and welfare amount is bearable. It is not meant to be everyday life but a short period. Those being stuck, no new job in sight, health issues that keep them at home, having worked all life – those are slapped in the face with that far-from-reality sum of £53. (For those who live to accommodate with that sum living a fair well life, for their mishap I don’t care.)
To live on £53 a week for one week as was suggested for Iain Duncan Smith – what a joke! You could basically live that way for a few weeks even. If the amount was purely for meals and one train ride, that is. It isn’t. Let’s create one example for real test conditions.
If you stay unemployed after those few weeks, nothing surprising nowadays, hardship begins – that would be a fun test! I assume the honest hard workers who find themselves in these circumstances are a far cry from expecting luxury and palaces. But a decent amount to live of, to not feel kicked in the posterior by a system they paid in for decades. (Again, for those who collect children or accommodate in the life-of-state I can’t care less.)
The actual trouble is, those £53 are not purely for meals and one train ride. For example, the average “you” rents/mortgages an average flat or house you could afford easily with your average income. If there are not enough savings you might consider moving houses as soon as unemployment hits you – or pay quite a chunk of the rent from those £53 and your own money – because what the average is and what housing benefit considers it to be is worlds apart in one of the priciest countries for rents. After years of work that’s a bright future to look forward to, that’s the security your country offers you. A detail: In the Greater London area those under 35, single, no child, are expected to live in a room (not a studio) for about £78 / week, excluding utilities (these are on the bill of your weekly allowance). Show me this place, please – what a likely scenario in the London area! The difference to those £312 of monthly rent (what a joke even for cheap rents in Berlin) is to be paid with the £53. If you the find yourself in the situation of needing financial help you have an issue that goes beyond £53. You will be using your savings plus your weekly allowance to pay for the time between 2 jobs. And yes, you can do that for 1 week or a few more. When 53 becomes 12 (or a red minus-number, more like) life is a test indeed. I am aware that everybody is responsible for themselves. But then please don’t smirk and call this welfare that can be lived on (for one week)!
If you have worked a certain amount of time you should be supported (%-wise based on your income) a certain amount of time instead of being forced to reduce your circumstances to an unnessecarily unbearable minimum as a thank you for the taxes you paid every month. Because your few savings (meant to be spent in the golden pension years) will use up very quickly. Or should we simply not settle, not move out from our parents’ home (also to justify their otherwise spare room, small as their flat otherwise might be, but that’s another silly story) until …. until when?, not feel secure, just in case?
At the moment this feels like buying a nice apple in the supermarket and at the door you trip, drop it. It’s taken away and all you get back is a quarter of last year’s apple. Because that’s what everybody gets, no matter what. Doesn’t sound healthy.