Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Living off the State

Recession can have a terrible effect on people. The anguish over job security, redundancy, worry, depression to name but a few! I am fortunate that I have fairly highly sought after abilities that despite the downturn there is plenty of opportunity to earn a living. I have worked for myself for most of my adult life with only a couple of early years spent in employment.

However recession can also open doors and offer new opportunities as long as you keep your eyes open and look.  I had a beer with a very good friend of mine earlier who is a statistic of the Global Financial Crisis.

For 15 years he has worked in estate agency but his pay cheque at the end of December was his last. His boss has decided to call it a day and retire. In normal circumstances he could sell the business and it would continue. However at the moment you'd have to be a fool to want to get into estate agency!! Thus my friend found himself unemployed for the first time in his life.

What he then told me, I thought was total crap but I've just looked it up and apparently he is right.

For the last 6 years he has been supporting his family, wife 3 kids, on his modest salary of £25,000 a year. He has struggled by and worked all those extra evenings and weekend to pay for a few luxuries. Had to manage numpties who didn't know their arse from their elbow and put up with tirades of abuse from customers for things beyond his control.

He got himself a new job today! He will be working 16 hours a week in a little village store helping the old lady who owns it. His pay for this..... £30,000 a year!! £5,000 in wages and £25,000 in benefits!!!

I'm sure he must have this wrong but that's what he says the benefits office have told him and after having a quick look on the HMRC website he seems to be right!!

Does this mean then that the minimum anyone can earn in this country is now £25-30,000 including benefits???

It makes me sick to my stomach if I'm honest! I am comfortable now, sure, but I spent 8 years really struggling by sometimes taking home less than 10,000 a year for 70/80 hours a week!

I have never claimed benefits in my life nor would I want to. But this has to be wrong? An experienced professional is now doing only 16 hours a week on minimum wage in a menial job yet earns more than he did in a pressured job he spent 15 years getting promoted to!!

I leave the floor open.... Please tell me this isn't so!!!!

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