Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/746/15843

From The Socialist newspaper, 12 December 2012

Austerity UK: 'I want to live, not just exist'

A public sector worker
20 October 2012 TUC demo against austerity, photo Paul Mattsson

20 October 2012 TUC demo against austerity, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

An ambulance worker fighting the proposed closure of his ambulance station told me recently: "I want to live, not just exist." As a single mother, struggling to even 'exist', I understand this sentiment.

I have two part-time jobs at my local school, on a 'pro-rata' basis. Support staff only get paid when the school is open.

One of my jobs officially pays just above the minimum wage, but I have to budget for 52 weeks but only get paid for 39 so I'm really earning below minimum wage.

Two jobs are not enough to cover my monthly rent and bills, especially in the winter with gas and electricity prices permanently rising.

The small housing benefit I get is cut when my wages go up slightly in months when I work more hours.

Tax credit pays the rest of my bills, travel and clothing with no money for anything else.

My wages haven't kept up with inflation, so I rely on my credit card to buy food. When I reach my credit limit I must choose between eating or feeding my family - no choice - so sometimes I go hungry.

With interest payments and monthly bills increasing I exist in a permanent circle of debt with no escape, unlike bankers who still make profits and get enormous bonuses.

I would like a full-time job. But businesses are closing, public sector jobs are being cut and full-time jobs replaced by part-time ones. There are few jobs and many people are competing for them.

Bus fares to get to jobs further afield are prohibitive, services have been cut and I can't afford a car.

I have good qualifications but these are out of date. There is no help with the cost of retraining. When I was offered a course to update my teaching skills, I could not pay for the fees or travel for this.

I cannot get a council house because there is no government programme for building new ones and the few left are in great demand by people in circumstances worse than mine.

So we live in privately rented accommodation, paying huge rent to a landlord who goes on several exotic holidays a year and lives in a luxury house. I can't afford to go out and seldom have a holiday.

We hear a lot about "scroungers" in the media but I know from my experience of being unemployed how much effort it takes to squeeze any money out of the state, and how demoralising the whole process of claiming out-of-work benefit can be, especially if you're unemployed a long time.

I often think about a life without the constant struggle to eat, keep the house warm, be dressed appropriately, have some sort of social life, all without the worry about what the future holds.

I know I'm better off than many people in this country and with the government intent on destroying working class people's lives with its cuts, things will get much worse.

I am fighting for the basics now and for a future socialist society where millionaires don't control us and we can all make the most of our lives without just trying to 'exist'.

A quarter of a million hungry people will have used emergency food banks by the end of this year. That is four times as many as two years ago. Shockingly, many of them are working

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 12 December 2012:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Kick out the cuts coalition

Prepare to resist austerity in 2013

Gove goes to war on teachers' pay

Fracking - gas profit dash could wreck climate

Merry Christmas from Starbucks

Them & Us


Socialist Party NHS campaigning

NHS in crisis

Hands off our NHS!


International socialist news and analysis

South African miners' struggle

Mass protests in Egypt against Mursi and his reactionary constitution

Kazakhstan: Free Vadim Kuramshin!

Sri Lanka: Solidarity with Jaffna students


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Socialist Women plan campaigning for 2013

Protesting against council cuts

Brixton byelection, south London: We want a candidate we can count on

A very Them & Us Christmas quiz

Great offers from Socialist Books


Socialist Party workplace news

Tesco drivers successfully blockade distribution centre

Striking against 'mock Ofsteds'

Bristol postal workers fight bullying

Blacklisting: 'we will fight for justice in every way'

Workplace news in brief


Readers' comments

Austerity UK: 'I want to live, not just exist'

Workers will fight austerity


 

Home   |   The Socialist 12 December 2012   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  




Related links:

Jobs:

triangleNationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

trianglePCS ballots members on the pay cap

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleBoeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangleMonarch abdicates responsibility to workers

Government:

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleCampaign against political repression in Hong Kong

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

Ambulance:

triangleMassive failings led to Grenfell Tower fire - Rapid, fully funded action now

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleWhat we saw

Food:

triangleObesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

triangleFood processing workers vote for action against miserly bosses

Austerity:

triangleTories torn - bin them now

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

18/10/17

Port Talbot

Powerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

18/10/17

Russian revolution

October 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

11/10/17

Theresa May

Theresa May, Frida Kahlo and turning women into wares

11/10/17

Docks

Poverty, repression and fightback on the docks

11/10/17

The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

11/10/17

TV

Shocking insight into Isis

2/10/17

Sexism

Hugh Hefner's exploitation of women

27/9/17

Football

Women's football - Sampson allegations

20/9/17

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

20/9/17

Socialist

Interview: the "socialist John Le Carré"

20/9/17

Women

Refreshing, anticapitalist - but little pointing a way forward

13/9/17

Women

New documentary asks women how their bodies are sexualised and policed

13/9/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

13/9/17

Che Guevara

Intimate insight into a revolutionary icon

6/9/17

Pensions

Bosses' pensions robbery

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2