Carving what was a comfortable year of not working into a slightly more pressing need for a job. Incidentally it's the Council bills that have been the largest and the ones that have been accompanied by menace - "failure to make payment is treated as a breach of the terms of the lease and the appropriate recovery action will commence, including taking you to Court to recover the monies and informing your mortgage company you are in breach of your lease agreement" - sadly there is no "bill me the right amount and I'll pay it but until then, whistle" clause in any housing acts.
If you'd been to a local reasonably priced restaurant and been charged over a grand for two pizzas and a carafe of house red, would you pay the bill and hope that next time you went to that restaurant you'd get most of your money back?
Being unemployed, and navigating my way around various benefits and allowances I can claim has been eye opening. It's laberinthine, open to abuse yet there's always someone in a department looking for fraud, and ultimately futile. JSA seems designed for the poorly paid to claim - if I had no interview for 2 weeks for a job commensurate for my background and experience, I'd be hauled up for a grilling and likely offered to apply for a job stacking shelves at Tesco's. Which is not to decry that as a job, nor anything beneath me to do - I've done a lot worse to keep my finances intact before. If my savings were completely out I'd happily shovel shit if it meant I could put food on the table. Is that the best use of my skills though? And would Tesco's take one look at my CV and go "nah, you'll fuck off as soon as you get a better job"? Which they'd be perfectly right in saying, mind. Far better for them to wait for someone they think is more likely to be a long term employee.
All sorts of benefits I could have claimed; Council Tax Rebate, Child Support Allowance; the system is a fucking Byzantine maze of dependance - got to have benefit A to claim benefit B, for benefit F you must be claiming D and E - each demanding documentation and correlation.
Pointless waste of bureacracy. It doesn't help those that need assistance, and allows the wicked to exploit it.
Now, whilst the above may read as self pitying, if I - supposedly very highly educated and capable find the entire mess unnavigable, what of those less able?
How the fuck are they going to claim enough to survive?
No, what we need is a Citizen's Basic Income. I've argued this before, but recent experience has definitely concreted this thought. The working poor pay no tax below it if working, and get to decide what they spend it on. The middle class get something to tide them over between jobs, and the rich won't even notice.
CBI - where is the downside? No problem for the disadvantaged who might not be able to navigate the system, no cross checking, form filling or interviews required.
And to please the BreakerMatic in me, the money saved in administering our benefits system can be used to root out fraud for multiple claimers.
Anyway, getting back to the origin of the diary - I used to give about 150-200 a month to good causes.
Who deserves my money this year?
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