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Bob Viking
16th Mar 2018, 11:17
Let me state right now this is not a thread about judgment or to debate the rights and wrongs of the UK welfare system. But I’ve long wondered about something and there’s only one place I know that can provide answers to weird questions...

We often hear about new government or private initiatives whereby those on lower incomes are able to receive things for free that others have to pay for. Child benefit, free school dinners etc.

As a higher rate tax payer I am eligible for none (that I know of). Poor me, boo hoo, I know.

My question is this. If an individual/family were to take up every one of these offers they could find how much would it be worth and what might it make their equivalent ‘salary’?

I realise I have opened myself up to the usual suspects who will now sit in judgment on me for even asking but c’est la vie.

Any ideas?

BV

Levelling_the_Land
16th Mar 2018, 12:48
Hi Bob,

I think that's genuinely a really difficult question to answer.

(Aaaagggggg! Having carefully crafted a reply with supporting links beow, I haven't posted often enough so it's canned my links. If you search for phrases in quotes, that should bring up the relevant links. Sorry!)

A good source for politically unbiased data and good articles on all things governmentally and financially related is the IFS.

They have a benefits survey, "IFS benefits survey 2016"


It doesn't say directly how much benefits are worth in total per person, but does highlight complexities in the system (which makes it difficult to really answer your question) and in addition it points out where most money is spent on benefits.

In brief they are (as a % of total expenditure in 15-16)

Benefits for older people (including pensions): 46%
Benefits for sick and disabled: 19%
Benefits for people on low incomes (ie working but in receipt of benefits): 13%
Personal Tax Credits (27% of claimants were out of work, 73% work in some form): 13%
Benefits for Families with Children : 7%
Benefits for Unemployed people: 1%

(Won't add up to 100% due to rounding and missing some smaller numbers off).

Other studies include:

"Who benefits from benefits" (which suggests that almost 50% of the UK population are supported by benefits (in this case non-pension benefits) at some point over 18 years. Search for the term in quotation marks for the discussion. It's genuinely interesting in that it shows how people move in and out of benefits as they go in and out of employment through life.

Other interesting (to me :-)) nuggets include: The number of non-working households has dropped from 18% to 12% since 1995. The biggest problem now is working poverty. "Poverty and low pay in the UK: the state of play and the challenges ahead ifs"


One interesting point the IFS made regarding taxation, was that if we really want to balance the budget in the way that's planned, there will need to be £30bn of tax rises per year by the mid-2020s. "ifs publications 12841" (For clarity, I mean 30bn/yr more by 2020s, not increasng 30bn/yr each year until mid-2020s)

While I've relied mostly on a single source, the IFS is fairly even handed in it's willingness to point out the flaws in the arguments from all sides.

I appreciate that pointing out that almost half of all benefits go to the retired may raise some hackles on this site, as with BV's question, it's not meant to, the data is the data.

BV, sorry I couldn't find the exact answer you were looking for, but it may be deeper in the IFS website. I had hoped to find it more easily there. I hope this helps indirectly.

LTL.

Donkey497
16th Mar 2018, 12:59
I can't give a specific figure for this instance, but one of the daughters of a good friend of my mother is a barely functioning alcoholic & drug addict. There's a whole backstory with her - think Deepcut & then some, but that's not wholly relevant.

The bottom line to answer your question starts with that she gets a total of a little over £500 each week paid into a bank account (I've seen the paperwork). So that's an income from Social Services of just under £27k.
In addition she has a (very nice high-end 3 bedroom) flat rented for her, her Council tax, gas, electricity and phone are all paid for by Social Services as well. I'd reckon that the rent for the flat must be at least around £600 a month and then utilities etc. around here will run to a minimum of £3k.

All in a ballpark number between £38k and £40k annual income from the state for someone who will never be able to make any kind of contribution in return. The sadder thing about it is that it's not enough for her, she's constantly in debt, often stealing from friends and family and getting beaten up for not repaying her debts to various loan sharks on time. That's a cash in hand figure, so by the time you would factor in National Insurance & Tax without working out the details, I'd guess she's on a "notional salary" of £50 - £55k.

Sad to say the least.

Oh and if you think you're in a high tax bracket BV, hop over this side of the border where the Parish council in Edinburgh have just slapped another wee bit on top that kicks in at the start of next month all to feed to egos of the Green party.

Gertrude the Wombat
16th Mar 2018, 13:09
As a higher rate tax payer I am eligible for none (that I know of). Poor me, boo hoo, I know.
When you get old enough you'll find that railcards aren't means tested (but these are commercial rather than a state benefit) and neither are bus passes. I believe there are other age related benefits, such as free TV licences and the winter fuel payment, which you still get if you're still a higher rate tax payer?

Gertrude the Wombat
16th Mar 2018, 13:12
Oh and if you think you're in a high tax bracket BV, hop over this side of the border where the Parish council in Edinburgh have just slapped another wee bit on top that kicks in at the start of next month all to feed to egos of the Green party.
Parish councils are the only layer of local government whose precepts are not capped. So what happens is district councils palm off some of their responsibilities (eg verge cutting) onto parishes, because parishes can increase their council tax to pay for these things but districts can't.

So expect (lots) more parish council tax rises.

charliegolf
16th Mar 2018, 15:24
Bob, just to balance Donkey's case study. I'm 61 and retired by choice. Were I a person without pension, and just lost my job, and in rented accomodation- I would get about £75 per week, with an expectation that I spend 37 hours a week seeking employment. I would likely get housing benefit. I would get no gas, elec, water or phone bill help at all.

So, £300/month + rent paid.

Donkey's friend's daughter is undoubtedly what we would all call, 'on the sick', and in receipt of Disablility Living Allowance (DLA). Assuming her doctor is happy that she cannot work, she continues to get it. (Though they are coming to get you- those pesky PIP and Universal Credit people) DLA is paid at different levels.

CG

treadigraph
16th Mar 2018, 16:04
I would get about £75 per week, with an expectation that I spend 37 hours a week seeking employment.

Exactly what I've just been told. Having been made redundant two weeks ago, I'm happy to use what I have and take three or four months off "unpaid" to do a few things I want to before I start looking for a new job. However, to get my full 12 weeks entitlement in lieu of notice, I may be expected to apply for JSA which I don't need and demonstrate that I am spending 37 hours a week looking for work...

charliegolf
16th Mar 2018, 16:14
Exactly what I've just been told. Having been made redundant two weeks ago, I'm happy to use what I have and take three or four months off "unpaid" to do a few things I want to before I start looking for a new job. However, to get my full 12 weeks entitlement in lieu of notice, I may be expected to apply for JSA which I don't need and demonstrate that I am spending 37 hours a week looking for work...

£75 a week dahn sahf, Treadi- beer's on you obvs:ok:

CG

Edit: they asked about your savings, whether you are co-habiting, in receipt of a personal pension of course. Good luck acually getting the dosh. Wife, Sis, BIL and SIL all work for DWP- If I can't get it, no-one will!

charliegolf
16th Mar 2018, 16:25
Bob, on being judgy...

Survey: 88% of primary school parents think standards are falling. 83% think standards are NOT falling in THEIR child's school! (Fifteen years ago, but a real one, not apocryphal.)

Benefit recipients are viewed the same way in my view. "Most benefit recipients are shiftless scroungers. But my brother is a really genuine case, not like them!"
So I don't. Judge.

CG

Highway1
16th Mar 2018, 16:28
Not quite the question asked but there was a survey done that shows you have to be earning around £35k before you become a net contributor to the State. I'll see if I can find it.

treadigraph
16th Mar 2018, 16:43
Beer's cheaper over your ways CG! Always happy to visit Wales... My paternal granny was from Llwyngwril!

Guy told me that for JSA they don't means test, but for Universal Credit they do.

Highway1, interested to see that survey...!

Highway1
16th Mar 2018, 19:51
Its from here:

http://www.cps.org.uk/publications/the-progressivity-of-uk-taxes-and-transfers/ (https://fullfact.org/economy/are-half-british-households-burden-state/)

Through cash benefits (i.e. state pension etc.) the average household gains £5,646. This ups the gross household income to £37,741.

https://fullfact.org/economy/are-half-british-households-burden-state/

vapilot2004
16th Mar 2018, 20:34
The limits to the amount of direct government aid:

UK Government - Benefits Entitlement (https://www.gov.uk/benefits-calculators)

http://i63.tinypic.com/jt40hx.png
http://i68.tinypic.com/qryfs0.png

If you're interested in how the UK compares to the US, France, Canada & Japan, percentages are based on the average wage - Chart from August 2016 - BBC:

http://i65.tinypic.com/15mfs09.png

On the other side of that, Mrs. VAP and I have managed to do fairly well monetarily here in the states, we're not quite 'millionaire' wealthy, but we're comfortable. We have a few good friends that are 'connected' and doing extremely well.

If we were to total the amount of free stuff we have regularly enjoyed, including tickets, flights, social events and dinners, hotel and resort stays, conventions, charity balls, etc, the amount is staggering. In 2012, we were the beneficiaries of over $29K in resort, vacation rental, and event fees alone. A quick add of 2014 fun puts that total in the $37K range.

Danny42C
16th Mar 2018, 22:14
The fact is that the Deficit can never be brought under control without curbing the enormous Welfare budget. The largest single item of this is State pensions: sooner or later an axe will have to be taken to them. It is a fallacy to suppose that old age is synonymous with poverty, as once it was.

As a grateful recipient of all this largesse, I have now more disposable income than ever I had when working (I have two occupational pensions as well): but the country simply cannot afford me. If I were a millionaire (which I am not), the State pension would still roll in; ditto the winter fuel allowance, £10 extra at Christmas, and a free TV licence; I draw Attendance Allowance at the lower rate; Social Services stands ready to supply any needs (eg a Bath Lift), on free loan, to meet the needs of my disabled state.

Many moons ago,: on Military Aviation Forum > "Pilot's Brevet" Thread, I wrote a Post: "Economics for Tiny Tots": showing, from easily available figures, that over the course of my working lifetime (1938-1986), the average working man today is roughly three times as well off (in real terms) as was his grandfather.

To quote Harold MacMillan of old: "you never had it so good".

Fareastdriver
16th Mar 2018, 22:25
Danny! Don't rock the boat.

cargosales
16th Mar 2018, 23:53
Good friends of ours really got the shitty stick of life and have two seriously disabled (for very different reasons) but very much loved, kids. You just wouldn't believe some of the absolutely vile messages they've been sent on social media - "they should have been killed at birth" is one of the politer things I've seen.

So these guys are full-time carers, in receipt of benefits and have a very modest lifestyle, running a 7? year old small car. BUT, they do volunteering stuff to help in their local community whenever they can. And yet the advice from the benefits people is that they shouldn't take on any actual paid work because that will screw up the system and then they, and their children, will lose out financially..

You couldn't make it up

CHAIRMAN
17th Mar 2018, 14:17
Anyone seen the movie 'I Daniel Blake'. It's a crack up take off of the pommy welfare system. Not much different in Oz probably.

Donkey497
17th Mar 2018, 23:18
Parish councils are the only layer of local government whose precepts are not capped. So what happens is district councils palm off some of their responsibilities (eg verge cutting) onto parishes, because parishes can increase their council tax to pay for these things but districts can't.

So expect (lots) more parish council tax rises.

Gertrude, you misunderstand me, I didn't mean a real and probably quite useful council looking after its own parochial area - by "Parish Council", I meant the alleged "Scottish Government" headed by the SNP & Greens whose actual powers should be limited to no more than that of a Parish Council and whose individual members I hold in more contempt than I reserve for most politicians.

Pontius Navigator
18th Mar 2018, 10:22
And NHS Prescriptions free for over 60s. I managed to avoid paying prescriptions entirely.

charliegolf
18th Mar 2018, 14:41
And NHS Prescriptions free for over 60s. I managed to avoid paying prescriptions entirely.

Free for everyone here PN, a scandal in my view.

CG

Planemike
18th Mar 2018, 14:55
Free for everyone here PN, a scandal in my view. CG

cg............. In what way a "scandal" ? I don't quite understand....

ImageGear
18th Mar 2018, 15:18
Danny - and "Don't rock the boat"

I retired at 68, paid tax throughout my life

When I was made redundant at 60, I could not get a cent of benefit, with the exception of the JC paying the minimum stamp to keep my pension entitlement alive. Reason? too much savings. (I was using my meagre savings to pay my interest only mortgage and keep a roof over the kids heads.)

Now, well into retirement, I am paying exactly the same scales of tax on my pensions (but not the same amount) as a city banker, on what I accrued over 55 years.

Now tell me you are not paying the same scales of tax as everybody else on your pensions.

You accrue more, you pay more.

IG

Gertrude the Wombat
18th Mar 2018, 15:51
Now, well into retirement, I am paying exactly the same scales of tax on my pensions (but not the same amount) as a city banker, on what I accrued over 55 years.
Really? - I thought there was now 1% of employer's national insurance that wasn't capped (but I haven't run a payroll for the last three or four years so may be out of touch). If that's right then the banker is paying 1% more than the retiree (ignoring fiddles of course).

charliegolf
18th Mar 2018, 20:18
cg............. In what way a "scandal" ? I don't quite understand....

In all parts of the country, the waste of resource that disposed of medication represents is huge. Giving it away in Wales adds to that; and many (if not all) can affford to contribute towards it. Just my view.

CG

'A poor use of resources' might be better than 'scandal'!

llondel
18th Mar 2018, 20:37
The hard thing about the state pension is the backlash any government would get if it suddenly decided to seriously chop it down. I think most of us would be demanding our money back - we've paid NI for quite a few years on the promise of getting an income when we get to retirement. Yes, the system is broken and is going broke, which is why I assume back in the 80s the government was encouraging people to start making their own provision. The other side of it is the raising of the pension age so people spend more time paying in and less time paying out. Many moons ago you'd be paying in for 40+ years and then have an average of less than ten taking it out, based on life expectancy. Now that's risen, the average starting age has gone up and so you're paying in for at most 40 years and hope to live another 20 taking it out again.

pax britanica
18th Mar 2018, 21:07
But the difference with State pensions compared to other benefits is that it is for older people who are retired it was always our money always our money.

It is not like other things a state benefit, we paid in through NI and the government was supposed to invest that money paid in in my case from 16 to 65 which is 50 years.
It would make much more sense to hypothocate that so NI pension contributions are all held in a separate ring fenced account from the treasury pool which politicians steal from and misuse in every government for their own ends and pet projects.

Some other massive scams that need addressing are

Minimum wage and living wage. these are set far too low so tax payers end up subsidising business owners. Low wages are bad for society not just those poor buggers who get them and then have to have their incomes topped up through tax credits and the like.

Fines -like Switzerland these should be based on ability to pay so busting a 30Mph speed cam in my Skoda Yeti costs me say 200 GBP but doing the same in a new Maserati costs 2000 GBP. Same for all motoring misdemeanours

Council tax. Top rate applies to many fairly ordinary 4-5 bedroom properties but owning a 20 room mansion with swimming pool and helipad costs the same - a ludicrous situation when Councils are begging for money and shutting socially important services like elderly care.

NHS- Doctors should only be allowed private work after a fixed number of years on NHS only and then only for a limited proportion of their time . As it stands they have the incentive to do less NHS work to create longer waiting times to pressure people into private treatment, a ludicrous conflict of interest .

Legal Costs All court fees should be capped at levels so that no one can buy a better lawyer, literally one law for the rich .

Business taxes should be based on revenues which cannot be argued about unlike profits which are an invitation to cook the books. For multinationals they pay tax in the country revenue is earned, no tax havens, dodgy licence fees and transfer accounting .

Apply some of these and we wouldnt have a Great Britain but we would have a good Britain which would benefit about 90% of the country

pax britanica
18th Mar 2018, 21:20
But the difference with State pensions compared to other benefits is that it is for older people who are retired it was always our money always our money.

It is not like other things a state benefit, we paid in through NI and the government was supposed to invest that money paid in in my case from 16 to 65 which is 50 years.
It would make much more sense to hypothocate that so NI pension contributions are all held in a separate ring fenced account from the treasury pool which politicians steal from and misuse in every government for their own ends and pet projects.

Some other massive scams that need addressing are

Minimum wage and living wage. these are set far too low so tax payers end up subsidising business owners. Low wages are bad for society not just those poor buggers who get them and then have to have their incomes topped up through tax credits and the like.

Fines -like Switzerland these should be based on ability to pay so busting a 30Mph speed cam in my Skoda Yeti costs me say 200 GBP but doing the same in a new Maserati costs 2000 GBP. Same for all motoring misdemeanours

Council tax. Top rate applies to many fairly ordinary 4-5 bedroom properties but owning a 20 room mansion with swimming pool and helipad costs the same - a ludicrous situation when Councils are begging for money and shutting socially important services like elderly care.

NHS- Doctors should only be allowed private work after a fixed number of years on NHS only and then only for a limited proportion of their time . As it stands they have the incentive to do less NHS work to create longer waiting times to pressure people into private treatment, a ludicrous conflict of interest .

Legal Costs All court fees should be capped at levels so that no one can buy a better lawyer, literally one law for the rich .

Business taxes should be based on revenues which cannot be argued about unlike profits which are an invitation to cook the books. For multinationals they pay tax in the country revenue is earned, no tax havens, dodgy licence fees and transfer accounting .

Apply some of these and we wouldnt have a Great Britain but we would have a good Britain which would benefit about 90% of the country

Gertrude the Wombat
18th Mar 2018, 21:32
NHS- Doctors should only be allowed private work after a fixed number of years on NHS only and then only for a limited proportion of their time . As it stands they have the incentive to do less NHS work to create longer waiting times to pressure people into private treatment, a ludicrous conflict of interest .
Agree with most of your points, but I don't see doctors behaving like this. Very much the opposite, in fact - I've had both GPs and consultants simply tell me what's available on the NHS, and not raise the question of what other options are available privately until the patients have asked the magic question (this is apparently some rule they follow, in my experience quite strictly).

And when I wanted some treatment privately that my GP did actually offer, he had to send me elsewhere as he wasn't allowed to do private work for his NHS patients.

MG23
19th Mar 2018, 18:59
But the difference with State pensions compared to other benefits is that it is for older people who are retired it was always our money always our money.

No, it wasn't. The government took our money and used it to buy votes, while buying our votes by claiming they'd give us money when we were old and retired. It was a great scam, but like all Ponzi schemes, it required an ever-increasing number of suckers coming in at the bottom.

And it's even worse. That 'money' is merely a promise by the government to give you something that someone else will consider valuable decades in the future. It's not like there's a big vault full of gold somewhere that they've been filling up to give back to us when we're eighty.

Anyone much under fifty expecting to get any of that money back is deluded. At least, in anything other than massively devalued pounds that are barely worth the paper they're printed on.

Minimum wage and living wage. these are set far too low so tax payers end up subsidising business owners.Yes. It's much better when the companies just lay off all those workers and automate their jobs instead.

Don't know about the UK because I haven't been there for a few years, but the only McDonalds' I visit now and again has replaced many of their staff with computers, and are pushing customers toward ordering through an app on their phone. Next step will be to install burger-making machines, then there'll only be one minimum-wage 'manager' to sit there smoking pot until the machines break and he has to call in an engineer to fix them.

We're about the see the vast majority of jobs automated away. Which is why there's not going to be a welfare state paying out state pensions in twenty years.

Jetex_Jim
19th Mar 2018, 19:06
We're about the see the vast majority of jobs automated away. Which is why there's not going to be a welfare state paying out state pensions in twenty years.

Agreed, and I think that self driving vehicles, as soon as they are rolled out, will be the greatest unemployment driver.

I read the other day that approximately 50% of ALL jobs include some element of driving.

Gertrude the Wombat
19th Mar 2018, 19:13
And it's even worse. That 'money' is merely a promise by the government to give you something that someone else will consider valuable decades in the future. It's not like there's a big vault full of gold somewhere that they've been filling up to give back to us when we're eighty.
Actually it doesn't matter. If you're eating but not working, then what you're eating is someone else's work. There are various methods of accounting for it, but the end result is the same.