I would say I am an everyday, run of the mill single mum. The children spend 2 nights a week at Dads each week and both he and I are pretty flexible if the days get moved around etc. I work self employed for several reasons but the main one being I have M.E so there are days I can’t work a full day. There are days I can’t get out of bed. I know no boss would tolerate that long term and as I am ‘able to work’ I had to find a solution that worked for me and would work around my bad days. I also work in the corner shop 2 afternoons a week. I am not rich by any means and yes I claim tax credits, housing benefit and council tax rebate.
The new Universal Credit is being brought in and Turn2us have updated their calculator to include a calculation on what you will get under the new Universal Credit. Now this is a godsend as I can get an idea of what is going to happen. I have just put in 4 different scenarios and …..well you can see the results below and its not happy reading. On all 4 scenarios I have used my circumstances and my figures so these workings only relate to my situation. Please check your own figures in the calculator at Turn2us.
|Not Working – claiming job seekers, housing benefit, tax/child credit, council tax and child benefit||£370||£370||none|
|Working 16 hours @mw – claiming tax/child credit, housing benefit, council tax and child benefit||£373||£344||£29 a week worse off|
|Working 40 hours @mw – claiming tax/child credit, housing benefit, council tax and child benefit||£388||£262||£126 a week worse off|
|Working S/e and P/T @mw – claiming tax/child credit, housing benefit, council tax and child benefit||£373||£305||£68 a week worse off|
In the calculations above I am only comparing the difference in the benefits and I have taken into account Universal credit doesn’t include council tax rebate or child benefit ( so added these figures to the Universal Credit figure.) Also note that if your circumstances don’t change and you are put onto the new system they say they will top up your amount so that you are not worse off. If you have a change of circumstances and then put onto Universal Credit then there is no top up. Also I havent included any child care costs in my calculations.
The really sad thing in it all is that it the more hours you work the worse off you will be. The last scenario is my own situation now and I will be £68 per week different. I am not living the rich life now by any means. Yes I can buy new shoes when they are needed and there is food on the table and it’s not baked beans. But loosing £68 a week will change this. If I was working full time I would be £126 per week worse off. It doesn’t make sense or am I missing something here? Apart from the warm fuzzy glow that your doing the most you can, that your working all the hours you can to pay someone else to look after your children while you work…where is the incentive to work more hours? From the scenarios above it sort of pushes people to work just 16 hours a week. No more, no less. Hardly builds a dedicated workforce.
I am not getting into the whole single parents shouldn’t put themselves into the situation where they are living off the state thing because even if you work full time at the minimum wage you don’t earn enough to live on. Shouldn’t it be that if you worked 40 hours at the minimum wage then that is enough to actually live on without having to claim benefits? It’s clearly not the case so till the cost of living comes down or wages go up there will always be people claiming benefits.