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I have good qualifications but these are out of date.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:

trianglePlans to launch no-cuts campaign at Kirklees College

triangleRBS to sack 1,000: nationalise the banks

triangleRoyal wedding exposes them-and-us visa system

triangleVictory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

Ambulance:

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

triangleThe Socialist inbox

Food:

triangleWe're freezing: reverse cuts to boiler replacement schemes!

triangleThe Socialist inbox

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

6/12/17

Fire

The Socialist Inbox

6/12/17

Surrey

Comment: Socialism and truth about Zane

6/12/17

Labour Party

Blairite horror and Labour's divisions graphically exposed

30/11/17

Theatre

Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

22/11/17

Working class

Left comic's take on politics will have you in tears

22/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

15/11/17

The Socialist

The Socialist Inbox

15/11/17

Abortion

TV review: Abortion on Trial - hard-hitting look at impact of 1967 act

15/11/17

Vietnam war

Comprehensive account of bloody conflict

8/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

8/11/17

Obituary

Obituary: Paul Randall, 1959-2017

8/11/17

Theatre

Welsh update of Chekhov an engrossing tale of 1980s class conflict

1/11/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

25/10/17

Letters

The Socialist inbox

25/10/17

Fidel Castro

New musical on life of Castro

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


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

triangle8 Dec Local government pay: fight for the full 5% claim

triangle6 Dec Strikers rally in Liverpool

triangle6 Dec Corbyn's Labour can defeat Tories with socialist programme

triangle5 Dec Victory at Glenfield shows people power can save our NHS

triangle5 Dec Labour council Blairites deselected

triangle30 Nov Victory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangle30 Nov Dramatic retelling of Grunwick strike

More ...

triangle13 Dec Caerphilly Socialist Party: Are we heading for an era of war?

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

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