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On 7 Apr 2013 at 3:22pm jrsussex wrote:
Testing, I am having problems in that I cannot post. Starting a new post to see if problem is resolved
On 7 Apr 2013 at 3:24pm jrsussex wrote:
Obviously working but for some strange reason I cannot post on a comment on any thread already on the forum.
On 7 Apr 2013 at 3:26pm jrsussex wrote:
This is a comment I have been trying to post:
Local - "definition of poverty", a very good point. What is poverty nowadays? I have mentioned the poverty in which I, as part of a large Irish RC family, endured throughout my childhood (my father went to work every day of his working life, he smoked my mother didn't and neither could afford to drink alcohol) which meant that my mother, as with many of the poor in those days, never owned a washing machine, TV, refrigerator and all the other household goods/products we take for granted nowadays. Today's so called poor have all these things, they and their children often have very expensive clothing and footwear along with other articles.
A recent TV programme on poverty showed several supposedly poor families living in poverty,but clearly visible large flat screen TV's, all the usual household appliances, what appeared to be good quality furniture etc, which I have no problem with but when you see them smoking and drinking and wearing designer gear and then complaining about their lot in life I do have to wonder what is poverty in the 21st century?
On 7 Apr 2013 at 4:01pm Blip wrote:
Many in our age group were brought up knowing what it was to be poor, so it is hard to find sympathy for those who plead poverty while travelling abroad to football matches or having expensive holidays overseas with their families. I think people's view of what are their "entitlements" has changed markedly over the past half century. An improved standard of living is surely a good thing, but no-one should feel that the state owes them luxuries.
On 7 Apr 2013 at 4:06pm Local wrote:
I'm glad it's not just me and my retired relatives who have that view.
On 7 Apr 2013 at 5:54pm Southover Queen wrote:
It depends a bit on what you consider luxuries, doesn't it? My family didn't have a washing machine either - we went to the laundrette. In those days there were laundrettes in every community, and I'd guess most normal families used them. Washing machines were incredibly expensive then - you'd work for months to pay one off on the average wage. Now it takes less than a week by the same measure to buy one, so a washing machine is now the norm and definitely not a luxury. (And there are virtually no laundrettes anyway). A flat screen TV? Also vastly cheaper than its counterpart many years ago. You can get "good quality furniture" at Furniture Now for nothing, I think, if you can show that you're on benefits. I don't believe for an instant that a family on JSA, even with other benefits, can afford to go on "expensive holidays".

I don't think you can define poverty meaningfully in those terms. Charities which do deal with poverty on a regular basis know what it is though, and the effect that growing up in poverty can have on a child. Poor education, restricted skills and expectations, terrible health and an early death. Those are the stats - not something I'd wish on my worst enemy.

Check it out here »
On 7 Apr 2013 at 6:29pm Clifford wrote:
The main thing is that we have to ensure the rich stay rich. It is the duty of us to give those who are worse off than a good kicking (using expressions like 'entitlement', 'benefits culture' and other myths we've picked up from the media) so that those above us don't feel threatened in any way.
On 7 Apr 2013 at 7:41pm Blip wrote:
Clifford, your irony is a bit heavy handed. Any family which needs benefits should have them. No child should be brought up in poverty. Equally, there are a number of people, as I am sure you are aware, who make living off benefits a fine art. Make of that what you will.
On 7 Apr 2013 at 10:22pm Southover Queen wrote:
So much of this debate, especially on this forum, takes the position that most people on benefits are unemployed deadbeat burdens on the state. We hear the government going on about it being fair to hard working families, while many of the people who will be worst affected are those who work very hard but whose incomes are so low they must be subsidised by the state. I am sincerely puzzled by the total absence of condemnation aimed at employers whose wages are so low that their workers must be supported by the state; why is this acceptable? And there are even mutterings on the right wing that the national minimum wage should be reduced or even abolished, when even the state accepts that the NMW is not a living wage. I don't get it.
On 7 Apr 2013 at 10:59pm Insider wrote:
I work in the welfare system, also am fairly poorly paid so as a consequence am also a recipient of some benefits. I consider myself as a hard working person and look forward to the day I no longer need the assistance I get. However if we all believe the press and government there are millions of so called benefit spongers. I know that it is a tiny minority who take advantage in the same way it is a tiny minority who commit crime. Please do not deamonize the system as a whole and those who have genuine need. If employers paid a living wage instead of relying on tax credits to pick up the shortfall the welfare bill would I suspect be greatly reduced and would enable people to return to work. I am a working single parent I am a public sector employee I am recipient of benefits. It is not always a question of black and white, as our angry red tops would have you believe.
On 8 Apr 2013 at 1:40am Expat Two wrote:
Poverty can be/is measured in a number of ways. Wikipedia has a pretty comprehensive page, and despite Wikipedia's faults, it's usually apolitical now they've stopped MPs from editing their own pages.
It also has a good grip on the prevalence of uk poverty - essentially its been on the increase since around 1979. (It can only be a coincidence that that's when Neo-Cons started taking root around the world, convincing us all that bank deregulation, welfare reform and selling off state enterprises etc. are really good for the economy. It also marks the date around which low and middle class wages stopped increasing, and put an end to social mobility once and for all.

Check it out here »
On 8 Apr 2013 at 2:18am Expat Two wrote:
But like Blip and JRSussex I too remember REAL poverty. I grew up in a family that lived in a hole in the road....
On 8 Apr 2013 at 8:32am Blip wrote:
Well, obviously you are from Yorkshire - you must remember us, we lived in a paper bag in a septic tank. Ah, those were the days!
But please, the rest of you, don't get the idea that when benefit scroungers are being criticised, that applies to everyone on benefits. It doesn't. It applies to those who won't work. SQ is right when she criticises the low level of some wages, and that is part of the problem. A rising problem is: where are the jobs?
On 8 Apr 2013 at 9:16am jrsussex wrote:
When we speak of the abuse of the benefit system it should be understood that abuse is not only committed by those who have no, or little, intention of seeking employment. Benefit abuse come in many other ways, the substantial level who could do some type of work but are on incapacity benefits and refuse to come off it, foreign nationals coming to the UK to give birth, EU citizens claiming for themselves and their children, many of whom we know have never set foot in this country.
Of course there are many thousands of good people living on benefits simply because they genuinely cannot find work or are incapacitated in various ways all of which proves how wonderful it is that we live in a welfare state. Some relatives recently here from New Zealand could not believe the extent to which we receive free medical care, they always thought we only received basic care. I am not against the benefit system in itself it is the many areas of abuse that offend me, I do not see why the UK taxpayer should fund those who simply want to abuse the system, it is theft and if you committed a robbery for several thousand pounds you would receive a custodial sentence but the same scenario with benefit abuse (stealing) offenders often receive so many hours of community service, a let off in my opinion certainly not a deterrent to others thinking of doing it.
On 8 Apr 2013 at 9:40am Southover Queen wrote:
Yes, but JR I was pointing out that a significant proportion of those claiming benefits are doing so because while they work very hard their income is way below the actual cost of living.

The rhetoric this government is using gives the impression that the vast majority of benefit recipients are unemployed. That is simply not the case, and it demonises the poor while allowing employers to go on paying low wages. Phrases like "hard working families" and "benefit scroungers" ignore the fact that they may well be one and the same, just as Insider describes.
On 8 Apr 2013 at 10:14am Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Two things that would significantly reduce the benefit bill are more social housing and/or controls on rents charged in the private sector, which would reduce the amount paid out for housing costs, and a minimum wage that people can actually live on.
As things stand, we are all paying to make money for private landlords and to keep wages low for businesses.
On 8 Apr 2013 at 11:11am Local wrote:
I thought that was one of the main reasons why housing benefit has been capped - to such outrage about some poor souls now not being able to live in posh areas.
On 8 Apr 2013 at 11:36am Southover Queen wrote:
It is the reason given, indeed, local, but the problem is that there is such pressure on housing that landlords don't need to accept people on housing benefit. There isn't enough of the right kind of housing, and the rents charged by landlords reflect the sky-house house prices in this country. So what will actually happen is people on low incomes will not be able to move and will be even poorer. No-one, not even the right wing press, thinks this is going to save any money at all, and may even end up costing the exchequer.
On 8 Apr 2013 at 11:38am jrsussex wrote:
SQ - Sort of about 50/50 with you on that one. Certainly in my opinion private landlords are over zealous in the level of rent they set for their properties. Is it time for some form a a rent act as we had in the past? Interesting point. Part of the problem is the fact of how high the Government will go in benefit payments to support rental values. I know of a landlord in East Sussex that takes his lead on what he charges in rent from that allowed by the benefit system, he has admitted as much to me.
On 8 Apr 2013 at 12:07pm Southover Queen wrote:
If you were to buy a house in this area - a modest three bedroom house for £350,000 - the repayments on it over a 25 mortgage term would be over £2000 per month. Even paying interest only it amounts to nearly £1500 a month (calculated at 5%). I'd be surprised if you could let such a house for that kind of money even in Lewes - the £1500 a month houses would probably cost nearly double to buy. So by that measure even the much demonised landlords aren't really milking the system in quite the way some would believe.

We don't have enough housing in many parts of the UK. Oddly enough, the very people who are occupying council houses which are too large for them - older people whose families have left home - are exempt from this crack down. Why? Because the Tories are terrified of tackling "pensioners" in spite of the fact that actually in many cases "pensioners" are the richest in our communities.

My arguments here aren't particularly left or right leaning, but offered in frustration because governments of most political persuasions just don't seem to want to base their policies on fact but rather in fear of what the media will report.

We don't have enough affordable housing, and what we do have is the wrong size. That's what's causing the pressure both on house prices and on the rental market, and that needs fixing. It's really not about "fairness" and preventing families living in luxury: it's about the market, which is failing.
On 8 Apr 2013 at 2:21pm sjep76 wrote:
My feeling with the last budget was instead of the government lending people money to help them get on the property ladder why don't they use that money to build more social housing which there is a great lack of. I agree with SQ about the older people being exempt. I don't agree that anybody should be forced to move but I don't see a difference in somebody over 65 not having to move and a friend of mine who has lived in her house for 25 years, brought up her children in the house and because she is under 65 is either having to pay more or move!
On 8 Apr 2013 at 3:01pm Blip wrote:
Does anyone know whether the money raised from selling off council houses has been put towards building new ones? I fear not, and if not, why not?
On 8 Apr 2013 at 3:38pm Southover Queen wrote:
At the time I'm pretty certain that councils were not allowed to use the revenue from the sale of council houses to build new ones at the time. I don't know if that's changed now: it was meant to break the cycle of dependency, I think. (Now where have I heard that before?) Also private house builders were supposed to satisfy the demand, but haven't - perhaps because this way they keep their prices high?
On 8 Apr 2013 at 7:07pm Local wrote:
Or perhaps because lots of local busy-bodies don't want them to build new houses anywhere near where they live?
On 8 Apr 2013 at 10:27pm Southover Queen wrote:
Not really, local. House builders are famously sitting on roughly half a million building plots, which would go quite a way to addressing the housing shortage. My guess is that they're reluctant to build because the climate isn't right and because it would actually reduce their overall value. Control the supply and demand will grow; isn't that how the free market works?

Check it out here »
On 9 Apr 2013 at 12:52am Local wrote:
Everyone's fre to guess. But I suspect it's more a case of control your pipeline and control the future of your business.
That 7 month old article makes clear that half of the 400,000 (not 500,000) plots are in the process of being built. If the comparatively few house-builders involved go hell for leather to fully exhaust their land-banks, they'll a) lose all control over costs, b) put their business at cash-flow, management and quality risk, c) leave themselves hideously exposed to market conditions over a short period of time rather than longer timescale 'smoothing', d) leave themselves with nowhere to shift their workforce and other resources to afterwards, etc.
I think there's an element of hare and tortoise involved behind that particular sensational Torygraph headline.
On 9 Apr 2013 at 8:51am Southover Queen wrote:
Ah. "Sensational" headline. I thought you'd be happier with that than something from the Guardian.
Forgive me, I did say roughly (no-one knows the exact figure) and I did lay out precisely why private house-builders were not using that land on which to build desperately needed houses, which is that market conditions don't favour it. Not nimby neighbours at all, but capital gain (or lack of it).

All of which, to me, suggests that someone else does need to be building houses since no-one is disagreeing that we don't have enough and the market can't provide.
On 9 Apr 2013 at 9:38am Blip wrote:
I have heard that in a recession some of the first people to go bankrupt are builders. Perhaps that is why they may be sitting on their plots of land.
On 9 Apr 2013 at 9:47am jrsussex wrote:
Clearly divided views/opinions on Thatcher. I did say in my original post ??Did she get everything right throughout her political career? Of course not, but tell me a policitician that did?. I hoped that would have demonstrated my balanced view.
Unions ?? If any poster does not accept that one of the major factors which resulted in the UK turning from a manufacturing country, on which we had built great status and wealth, to a service based country then they do not know much of our social history during the post-war years. No British Government of any party had had the courage and strength to stand up to the unions, which had to be done. Apart from the mining industry look at what they did to the British car and steel industry, unions were not the sole factor but they certainly played a major role. The actions of the unions throughout the 60??s, 70??s and into the 80??s are the reason I abandoned my left wing views.
The Falklands War ?? Argentina did indeed sense a weakness in British attitude towards the Falklands with the withdrawal of the one naval patrol ship in the area, but boy did they come to realise that their ??sense? could not have been more wrong. The ship was cleary not withdrawn for any reason of abandoning the Falklands as the subsequent action by Thatcher proved.
The Belgrano ?? Those posters who think sinking it was a cowardly act almost certainly have no knowledge of military matters. The ship wherever it was and whatever heading it was on remained a threat to British forces. A further display of military ignorance is that some of you think that as she appeared to be retreating she should not have been attacked. Retreating does not give you a ??free ticket to get out of jail?, retreating forces are pursued and captured, wounded or killed, which is the nature of war. Do you honestly believe that the attacking force allows the enemy to retreat in order that they may reform and come to attack you again? It has happened but rarely.
Housing ?? The fault with her housing policy was that no council housing (as social housing was then called) was built following her policy of ??buy your own home?. But how many working class people did get their foot on the home ownership ladder as a direct result of that policy.
The Cold War ?? There is little point in debating the matter with anyone who refuses to acknowledge that Thatcher, Reagan and Gorbachov worked together to bring an end to the cold war, a magnificent achievement which many younger people may not appreciate. It removed the constant fear of nuclear war albeit now reintroduced by idiot nations.
My last word on the matter, I recognise her as a great leader, which was what Great Britian required in 1979, 11yrs later she it was right that she should go. Another balanced view I hope.
On 9 Apr 2013 at 10:05am Southover Queen wrote:
Indeed, blip. And please note I haven't condemned the house builders for not building more houses since market conditions are quite clearly not favourable.

It does however beg the question of who IS going to build the homes that are needed. The government is busy trying to persuade people to move out of subsidised housing but there is nowhere for them to go - because there aren't enough houses of the right size. It would seem to me that the obvious candidate for the job of building some more homes so that Britons can be housed decently is government or local authorities. LAs can't do it because the government is starving them of cash, so perhaps government needs to do it, and by doing so create jobs. It seems that the market can't always provide.

Please excuse me while I whistle in the wind...
On 9 Apr 2013 at 8:11pm Sussex Jim wrote:
The ideal answer to building new homes is for those who need them to do it themselves. I am speaking from experience; it is not easy but it is possible.
The local authority provides the land and funds the materials, and appoints suitable professional management. Those not in a position to purchase upon completion could rent at a reduced rate, with an option to buy later.
This is a good opportunity for fit young people to get on the housing ladder, wether in work or not.
On 11 Apr 2013 at 10:09pm echo wrote:
SQ has mentioned this on another forum. She says:
"You should see my local forum - one of them (who sincerely believes that UKIP is too moderate) has answered my criticism of the lack of house building (and the sale of council houses) with the notion that everyone should be given a plot of land and allowed to build their own.
Yeah, right."

Check it out here »

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