The Source of Poverty - From Someone Living Through It.
Poverty is awful to go through. It's one thing to not be able to afford basic things like food and electric, but when the letters pile up and bailiffs are knocking it gets worse.
From my experience which I'm still going through. The problem behind my own poverty is simply this. You earn a living, you start your life, you live with those means. It takes only 2 months of reduced income to cause a massive problem.
Bills and utilities from a practical point of view. You're employed you can get a contract, broadband, pay rent, tax and such. Normal everyday social necessities.
If you lose your job or transition to a new one and there's a delay in pay, then the problems begin. Because finances are so slippery a lot of people are living on the fine line of poverty without realizing it.
If I give a quick rundown of a real life scenario.
+£1200 per month (after tax)
-£500 rent (this is low for a 1 bed room flat, most go for >£500)
-£91 (avg single person council tax)
-£50 travel (avg price for a month bus pass)
-£25 water (avg rate of water cons)
-£65 electic (avg cost of electric heated flat)
-£45 phone (tied contracts)
-£15 insurance (could be home/belongs or both)
-£25 cleaning (both personal products and domestic cleaning for month)
-£120 food (avg cost for meat/fresh veg/salad/perishable foods from Aldi/Lidl (£30 p/w))
This leaves £214 remaining. - Most people would put that away but dip into it for the month. Entertainment like cinema, eating out, takeout food, shopping, gift buying etc. The reason why people now live pay cheque to pay cheque. Is for this reason. Throw in Netflix, Amazon Prime etc. its more money gone.
Regardless of the extra few after the £214 we are left with a person who lives their life within their means they are earning, and everything is swimming.
However, through no fault they've lost their job. It happens when you work private and it's a nightmare. Why? Because simply put when you lose your job you can rely only on your savings and benefits to help keep you afloat. But this will never work.
£1200 per month is now reduced dramatically to the current Universal Credit rating for a 26 year old at £593 per month.
The mandatory bills:
Rent, Tax, Water, Electric - is still way above that £593 mark. Moving isn't free so moving to another property is impossible especially when you are already in a low marked bracket. The luxury bills such as broadband and phone are tied into contracts with no exit clause for those who are claiming. So already it's a set up to immediately fail.
You can't rent with housing association or council with rent arrears so priority one is rent. Now after £593 has entered the account £500 leaves. £93 is left. You can ask for tax deduction which will help but £93 is still nothing to last a month even though food before was £120. The phone bill is £45, the broadband is £40. You can't pay these companies so there's a late fee, there's next month’s bill, there's more debt, piling, piling, piling.
Now you're on the brink of failing apart and it's only been 3 months. Quality of life has dropped almost zero and there's no end in sight.
What's even worse is the attitude we face. Those in poverty can very easily see that Universal Credit, the Council, Debt Collectors and Company Customer Service Reps believe everything will work out when you simply get another job. -
If we take that into account and we get another job at £1200 per month. This person is already being grounded by debt, unable to get credit, received the section 21 because eating food or paying a bill to attempt to avoid debt was the better choice. They're now on the waiting list but of course that's 8, 9, maybe longer in months depending on circumstances.
Renting in Leicester is an absolute nightmare! – For example, myself I've received a section 21, jumped onto an IVA to manage the debt I accumulated but now no estate agency will allow me to rent due to adverse credit. I was advised by a high street estate agent that there is a clause in the landlord insurance documents which means they cannot get missed rent collection if they willing rent to a tenant with adverse credit.
Private renters who earn from a full-time job only with an annual salary of around £20000. Should be ready to move out and live on their own, becoming members of society.
One slip in that plan and it goes left very, very quickly.
I’m not shy about sharing my experience, this is almost identical to the situation I’m currently in now and have been very lucky to gain employment with Leicester Council even with this lingering behind me. I sit here, writing this a day after pay day when 24 hours ago my account was at -£2.39. I’ve a court date in January for my landlord who wishes to evict me and I’m no further in my housing application with the council now than I was back in September when I first got my section 21 after being diagnosed with severe depression. - These is so much more to my experience including my partner who due to an unfair judgement was unable to claim any benefits properly since February either.
If anyone would like to discuss practical solutions, I can get you in touch with a couple other people who are also living in poverty, struggling to find a way out.
Why the contribution is important
I've read a lot about Money Advise Service, Step Change, Charities etc. but no one who wants to try and combat or battle the issue seems to understand where it comes from.
You can't make action without first identifying the source and there are so many different sources that one solution will not help.
One thing that really surprised me when I took up my job with the council is how no one in the office I'm located has any experience with life on Universal Credit. - I'm willing to discuss with whoever wants to learn more about life in poverty, the struggles, the answers received when we seek help and why there is no one solution to fix all. I am now a council employee but in April 2018 you’ll find a voice recording somewhere in an archive of me on the phone to Leicester Council’s homeless team telling me they can’t help me while I was sat in a cold, wet tent. I have turned my life around but even right now I’m only moments away from being thrown back into that situation because of this modern-day poverty. There is a lot more to say.
- I get my discuss post is very long, and very detailed. But I have very little faith that people understand or grasp what poverty is or how it feels because if you are reading a statistic you think (wow that's bad we need to help...) but when you live through it you feel there is absolutely no help aside from "advise" which is useless when you don't have the means any more to act on advise.
by lukescotney on December 23, 2019 at 01:57PM