Tag Archives: government

CHILD POVERTY AND BENEFITS

The latest headlines to hit the news in the UK is that of Marcus Rashford and his inspirational charity work which has raised over 20 million pounds to help provide free school meals for vulnerable people over the summer holidays.

A truly humane effort carried out by a truly generous man. A man who it is clear, has morals and values and seeks to make the world a better place. A man who despite his enormous fame and worth, still makes time for others far less fortunate than himself. An international footballing superstar who remains modest and humble, a quality so forgotten in today’s celebrity world.

However, as seems is the modern trend in this world we live in, with every good deed there are always the people out there chomping at the bit to use it promote their own political views and agenda’s. That use it to help point the finger of blame at someone else. Why is everyone’s default setting to blame someone else? Why is everyone’s default setting to blame the government? Why do people allow themselves to get caught up the media frenzy and and hype that surrounds every single action that takes place in today’s world?

It is tiring and boring and simply needs to end. Not everything in life is someone else’s fault. Not everything in life is the government’s fault. I am not talking about just this current government either, I am talking about any government in power of this country. A government that don’t forget, is elected by a nationwide demographic vote. A vote which best represents the wishes of the people of this country.

The latest criticism, the latest ‘blame game’ is now that of the government and child poverty. That child poverty is the direct result of a lack of empathy and a lack of action from the government. Well I’m sorry but I simply do not agree. Once again people allow the manipulating media and their own anger at the world to cloud their judgement. They allow themselves to be swept up in the powerful world of social media and all the incorrect accusations that come with it.

The facts are this, in England around 1.3 million people from low income backgrounds are eligible for free school meals. A child who qualifies remains eligible until 31 March 2022, whether in primary or secondary education. Children from families who meet certain criteria can also be eligible for free school meals before they start school.

It has now been announced that families claiming free school meals will be issued with either an electronic voucher or gift card – worth £15 per child, per week – to spend at supermarkets, during the school term and throughout the summer holidays.

1.3 million disadvantaged children in England currently have access to free school meals

I simply do not understand people claiming that the government do not care or the government should do more. From what I see this country is far more generous and charitable than most other countries in terms of financial and medical assistance. Where else can you go that provides you with a house purely because you have a child? Where else can you go that provide you with child tax credits purely for having a child? The benefits list in this country is endless – council tax benefits, disability living allowance, housing benefit, incapacity benefit, income support, return to work credit, school uniform allowance – these are just a few of the many types of benefits on offer to people that qualify for them.

I am not for one second saying these people don’t deserve them. Life is all about helping those in a less fortunate situation or those in hardship. I do however, feel that this countries generosity is starting to be taken advantage of, and starting to be seen as a weakness.

The problem with generosity and kindness is eventually people start to exploit and use it for their own selfish gain (the furlough scheme is a PRIME EXAMPLE of this, whereby companies were using it as a money saving exercise rather than a last resort to making people redundant). I find it astounding when people blame child poverty on the government. No-body makes anyone have a child, no-body forces anyone to have a child. Whatever happened to living within your means? I earn an average wage therefore I live an average life in terms of expenditure. I drive an average car, I live in a modest house and I don’t go on endless amounts of holidays. Simply because I can’t afford to. If I could afford to, I probably would.

When me and my wife decided to get a dog we had to sit down and work out whether we could afford to provide for the dog and whether we could devote enough time to him to make it fair. If I wanted to go out and buy a new car tomorrow I would first of all have to sit down with the monthly repayments in mind and calculate if I would be able to afford to make that same payment every single month moving forward. Same principle applies to buying a house or a holiday, and so on and so forth. Why is having a child any different?

Before having a child surely the most important question to ask is – can I (or we) actually afford to pay and provide for this child? Too many people have a child and simply expect the state to provide a life for them. And being the generous, hospitable nation we are, we do provide for them! To have a child and bring them in to this harsh unforgiving world, knowing that you can’t afford to pay for them is simply unfair. Benefits and allowances from the government shouldn’t be a default setting, they should be as backup in case of a dramatic change of circumstances. Of course circumstances do change – people become ill and can no longer work, people lose their job or their mental health, people have accidents or unfortunately become disabled. All unavoidable circumstances, which quite rightly we should support and help with. These are exactly what benefits should be used for.

How is it fair that one person should work 12 hours a day 6 days a week to provide for their family, whilst another person has a family and everything paid for them? Again, I must re-iterate that I am not suggesting people shouldn’t receive benefits, far from it. I am suggesting that benefits, much like the Furlough Scheme, should be offered due to an unfortunate change in circumstances or as an alternative option to going ‘bankrupt’ so to speak. Not as a money saving exercise or a standard option to stay on for the rest of your life.

The benefits system in this country has to be one of the best in the world

Just as the furlough scheme was abused, so it the benefits system. Just as people claimed the furlough scheme wasn’t enough, people claim the benefits system isn’t enough. What do people actually expect? Every single day I drive past people living in houses paid for them by the government or by the council, yet 30 grand cars sitting in their driveway. How many people who moan about child poverty still have sky TV, still have the latest iPhone and still wear designer clothes? How many people truly can’t provide for their children or how many just don’t want to give up the expensive aspects of their life to fund for them?

Too many people I feel, believe the grass is always greener. I have travelled to quite a few countries and I have seen first hand, true child poverty. Children and families forced to live on the street, children that can’t afford access to healthcare or education. That simply doesn’t happen over here. Yet, as with any form of kindness or generosity, over time people come to expect it and forget the thoughtful principles that sit behind it.

I’ve had families members who have been diagnosed with cancer and the government / NHS have provided them with first class treatment, no questions asked. Treatment that had they decided to go private or pay for themselves, would have cost upwards of 100 thousand pounds. I’ve known friends who have lost their jobs and the government have helped pay their mortgage or pay their rent until they found another one. I know people with disabled children who receive tremendous help, support and financial assistance from both the NHS and the government. All just examples of the generosity on offer. Yet still people moan and belly ache and demand more. Still people think they are entitled to more.

Unfortunately life isn’t free and anything or anyone you decide to bring in to this world isn’t free either. Whether you decide to bring a dog or a child in to the world they aren’t free. Whether you decide to buy a car or purchase a house, they aren’t free. If you want to have 4 children no-body is stopping you, however surely it is only fair to yourself, the children and the wider community, that you first of all ensure you are able to provide and pay for those children.

It is simply too easy to have a child and forget about them, or to have a child and pass them off as someone else’s problem. Until that child is 18, until that child has a job and until that child is mature, surely the two people that created that child should fund, support and pay for that child.

The government simply cannot afford to pay for everyone and everything, as much as I wish they could. When you bring a life in to this world, you are doing just that, bringing a living breathing being in to this cold, ruthless world. They are your (along with the other parents) responsibility both financially and emotionally. Mishaps or unfortunate circumstances will sometimes occur along the way and that’s what benefits should be for. For me, people need to start taking responsibility for their actions instead of just blaming others. How is it that England, one of the most charitable and hospitable countries is fast gaining a reputation as one of the least?

What Marcus Rashford has done with his charity work is truly magnificent. Children are innocent and vulnerable and of course deserve to be protected and defended at all costs. The real question for me though, is why are these children in this terrible position in the first place. A position whereby they are forced to rely on government handouts simply to eat? Are they in this position because of a terrible or unfortunate set of circumstances their parents found themselves in? Or are they are in this position due to adults not taking responsibility for their actions and thinking before they bring a human life in to this world?

Having a child is a choice. Having cancer isn’t a choice, becoming disabled isn’t a choice, your mental health deteriorating isn’t a choice, losing your job isn’t a choice. As far as my thinking goes, benefits need to be there for the people that didn’t have a choice in life, who find themselves in the position they are in due to circumstances outside of their control. Let me re-iterate one more time, that children who are living in poverty absolutely deserve access to free meals and support. It is not their fault they are in the position they are in.

Marcus has provided a temporary (albeit amazing) solution to a permanent problem. At some point the problem, as with any problem, needs to be addressed at it’s core to stop it from growing and getting worse. I believe this starts with adults taking responsibility and thinking long and hard about the consequences of their actions before bringing a child in to the world. About whether or not they are truly going to be there to provide the required financial and emotional support for that child for the foreseeable future. I don’t believe that is too much to ask, after all…

My Facebook Post That Resulted In A Blogging Page

I hear SO many people constantly moaning so here’s my thoughts. And just to be clear I didn’t actually vote for Boris Johnson.

I feel like if he’d have locked down sooner people would have moaned saying he panicked and caused a longer lockdown than was necessary.I feel like if he’d locked down later people would have moaned saying he should have locked down sooner.

If he ends the lockdown soon people will moan saying he’s putting people’s lives at risk.If he keeps the lockdown going people will moan saying he’s wrecking the economy, the long term results of which will be worse than that of the virus (for example the vast number of lives lost during the Great Depression).

If he keeps the schools closed people will moan saying children are being denied their right to education and people can’t go back to work until the schools open.If he opens the schools people will moan saying it’s not safe for children and teachers to go back.

They managed to get a furlough scheme going in next to no time – 80% of your wages covered for sitting at home, so that companies didn’t have to get rid of staff. People moan that it’s not enough. Then you get rich companies / people around the world using it as a money saving exercise rather than a last resort to making someone redundant.

People say our lockdown was too draconian and a waste of time and to look at Sweden who didn’t implement a lockdown. Yet people also say our lockdown was too weak and to look at China who were literally spraying the streets with disinfectant and no-one could leave their house.

People demanded an exit plan, so he gives an exit plan. So people moan and say it’s mixed messages and should have been released before the bank holiday. He says he’s following scientific advice, people dismiss the scientific advice saying it’s rubbish.

He says you can now have unlimited exercise as he appreciates how important it is for mental and physical well being, yet people moan saying they can now exercise but can’t see their family.

He’s encouraged outdoor workers (construction, labouring etc) to go back to work as it’s a lot easier to maintain social distancing outside of an office. People moan saying that’s unfair. He’s encouraged people to not use public transport unless they need to. People moan saying that’s unfair.

I feel like if he’d quarantined everyone coming into the country people would have moaned saying it was against their basic human rights. Yet now he’s saying all new arrivals will be made to quarantine, the airlines are moaning saying it will destroy their industry.

I feel like one minute an ‘expert’ is coming out saying the lockdown is a complete waste of time and the next minute another ‘expert’ is coming out saying without a lockdown it would have resulted in five hundred thousand deaths.

I feel like people talk about setting up and supplying PPE, Track & Trace and swab tests for millions, like it’s as quick and easy as a stroll down the shops, without appreciating what a logistical nightmare it must actually be.

I feel like the unions and people will demand a safer environment (and so they should) and refuse to go back to work, but will also moan and cry about taxes going up as a result of the government having had to foot the bill for them being out of work for months.

I feel like people will happily point out we have one of the worst death counts in Europe but will fail to mention we are also one of the most densely populated. That people will happily pin every single death here on the government, as if this new horrific virus hasn’t caused hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide.

I feel like people in this country JUST LOVE TO MOAN. And if Boris Johnson magicked a vaccine out of thin air tonight, people would start moaning about the weather saying that was his fault instead.

I feel like people forget the government are human beings. They are doing the best they can guided by the best scientific advice in this country. Better advice than Piers Morgan or some cheap journalist.I feel like the real villains are the immoral media who are full of lies, deceit and hidden agendas. The multi millionaires and rich companies who use the furlough scheme as a money saving exercise rather than leaving it for the companies that actually NEED IT.

The people that never pay a penny of tax or national insurance yet rinse the state for all it’s worth. Not forgetting the persons responsible for this deadly virus actually getting unleashed on mankind. They are the true villains, yet it’s all too easy to blame the government. I feel like whatever he does he CANNOT WIN.

Before people start replying with stats and ‘how much worse it’s been handled over here’ – let me show you how easy it is to present stats to fit a certain narrative:

USA – tens of millions of people unemployed, no free healthcare, high number of deaths.

Italy – healthcare system completely overwhelmed, doctors forced to choose between who lives and dies. Similar number of deaths to the UK.

Spain – Population 30% smaller than the UK, with a death count 15% higher per million population, yet similar number of deaths.

France – Roughly same size population as the UK, on a landmass nearly 3 times bigger, yet similar number of deaths.

But, if you’re still hell bent on making comparisons then surely it makes sense to make them against countries on a similar footing to our own, not countries on the other side of the world who are operating under completely different circumstances!

With regards the media – how many times has a government adviser announced a new bit of guidance, and how many times do one of the newspapers miraculously find a random ‘expert’ who just so happens to have the complete opposite opinion…And the next time you watch one of the 5pm government briefings, listen closely to the questions the media ask and think to yourself how many of them are actually relevant / good solid questions and how many of them are designed with the sole purpose of tripping up those they are asking…

For me, I’m afraid large parts of the media have become glorified gossip outlets with a plethora of could, if’s and maybe’s, when what we as a nation need during this difficult time is factual real time information.

One final thought (if you’ve made it this far without falling asleep I salute you 😅):

Every single death is a huge tragedy, and I don’t believe many people will be better off as a result of this virus. Our NHS, our care workers and our emergency services do an unbelievable job, they are hands down one of the best things about this country. Let’s not forget though, that the world is battling to hold this virus at bay, and these problems we face aren’t just happening in the UK, as our media will have you believe.

*******P.S No I am not a ‘bot’ (whatever that means), no I didn’t steal this from elsewhere and no I definitely am not writing on behalf of the conservative government. I have a wife, a dog, a job, I love playing & watching numerous sports, I am just a normal working class 30 yr old man who decided to write down my views ✌🏼