Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/752/16137

From The Socialist newspaper, 13 February 2013

Low pay + high prices = debt misery

Carole Wood

I volunteer for an advice agency and deal with some people's debt problems. Clients from all walks of life come in because they're worried and need the free help and advice we can offer.

Despite what the government and the media claim; most clients don't get into debt because of frivolous spending.

Anyway, what is 'essential' expenditure and what could be termed luxuries? People all have different needs, priorities and problems to deal with.

In the Tories' eyes the working class gets itself into debt by overspending, sitting around at home all day, or being "feckless". The reality is very different.

A lot of debt arises from sudden changes in circumstances such as job loss, relationship breakdown, death of a partner or the onset of illness.

Look how quickly 1,300 Jessops workers lost their jobs. An announcement on the news about administration was followed two days later by mass redundancy.

I have seen people working two or three jobs trying to stay afloat. This lifestyle isn't sustainable and sooner or later they fall prey to exhaustion or family practicalities.

I did it myself; I worked full time in an office, together with an early morning cleaning job and weekend factory work.

In the end I gave up the factory work as I had no life and was physically drained. I now have a young child, so even if I could sustain three jobs I would struggle with childcare.

I regularly see fuel debt. Utility firms keep increasing prices despite massive profits (in August 2012 Eon announced half year profits of £245 million), leading to fuel debt for both working and non-working people.

Fuel arrears are termed priority debt, ie these creditors must be paid first. So if someone has numerous debts, often including at least one payday lender, they need to concentrate on paying off their gas and electricity arrears.

Unfortunately what often happens is a payday lender such as Wonga exerts huge pressure on the client to clear their balance, and they end up paying them first.

It is worse when clients have rent or mortgage arrears. With payday lenders hassling them up to 15 times a day by phone, text or email, clients naturally want to get these companies off their backs.

Rent and mortgage arrears are also 'priority debts', and non-payment can have serious consequences.

Anyone falling behind with these payments should talk to their landlord or mortgage company urgently, or risk losing their home.

A repayment plan can be negotiated, and payday lenders have to wait until the client's priority debts are cleared.

The media never mention the physical and emotional effects of debt. I have seen clients suffering from malnutrition after living on diets of pasta, rice and little else, in an effort to clear their payday loans.

They want to pay their creditors but their income level does not let them pay the amounts demanded. And with payday lenders charging up to 4,000% interest, a small unpaid loan can quickly spiral out of control. One of our client's £200 payday loans soon turned into a £1,500 debt.

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


In The Socialist 13 February 2013:


Socialist Party NHS campaigning

'Save our A&E' - Defend the NHS

Mid Staffs hospital scandal: Big business culture kills


Socialist Party news and analysis

GCSE U-turn shows all Gove's 'reforms' can be stopped

Smash the blacklist - not the unions!

Victory over 'workfare' sanctions

Horsemeat scandal: good for profit, bad for health

"Fully funded" social care plan - still needed

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

15 February 2003: A million on the streets to stop the war


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Campaigning against cuts

TUSC: 'No cuts' candidate in Eastleigh

Nottingham: Campaigning for comedy without misogyny

Support the fight for a socialist alternative

Socialist Party 2013 national youth and student meeting


Socialist Party workplace news

Unison region calls for general strike

Care workers fight cuts in pay and conditions

Workplace In Brief


International socialist news and analysis

Greece: Martial law ends ferry workers' strike


Reviews and readers' comments

Low pay + high prices = debt misery

Film review: 'No' - an exercise in rewriting Chile's history

Spielberg's Lincoln by Tony Mulhearn


 

Home   |   The Socialist 13 February 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Debt:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleNHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

triangleHousing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right

triangleTories wreck our NHS

triangleFight for free education

Pay:

triangleJustice for Tube cleaners demo

triangleThem & Us

triangleMonarch abdicates responsibility to workers

Low pay:

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleTories retreat on pay cap

triangleThree week Argos strike ends

Jobs:

triangleBoeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangleCapitalism and human progress

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

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

6/9/17

EU

How the Single Market blocks socialist policies

6/9/17

Tolpuddle

'Let the producers of wealth unite - and what can withstand them?'

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


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

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...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle16 Oct Teesside Socialist Party: After the party conferences

triangle17 Oct London: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led 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