I didn't know what I was going to be asked beforehand and I was only on for about 90 seconds.
My question, which was edited slightly, was asking how it is fair that despite working hard, ALL families will see their tax credit award decrease from next year.
David Cameron didn't really answer this question, he just stated that the 'rise' in national minimum wage was bringing people out of poverty and people needed to be encouraged back to work.
Firstly, although I agree the NMW has stopped the exploitation of some workers, anecdotally, my wage 20 years ago was only £1 an hour below the current minimum wage, so hardly progressive. Wages have stagnated and the blame could be on the Government for indirectly allowing employers to keep wages low or the blame could be laid directly onto employers for exploiting the NMW, either way the need for tax credits has risen since its introduction, including payments for childcare.
Interestingly, through simple calculations, a family earning 25k with two children paying full childcare will be awarded slightly more than a family earning 25k with five children without childcare. The system is complex and is certainly not black and white.
So, since Newnight, a tabloid hack from the Torygraph decided to write an article about 'Claire' based on her assumptions, which then received many replies from readers who added to them (some are about me, some are about people in general). Here are a few:
- I am lazy for working part-time
- I have never worked full time
- I have never paid tax or NI
- Volunteering, being a carer, or studying is not acceptable
- Staying at home/working part time is lazy
- Working full time is leaving your children to be raised by others
- I am about 30 years of age (I like this one)
- Women who have lots of child are not intelligent!!!
- Its highly unlikely a woman who has been raising her children can earn above minimum wage
- My children would be better of without me
- I am fat (obviously I am!, however, they presume I don't care or that I am not doing anything about it)
- We are a 'blended' family and I have 5 kids to 5 dads!
- I am not married
- I had kids to claim benefits and refuse to work harder
- We use food banks, cry poverty, despite earning a middle income wage
- No-one who requires help from tax credits/child benefit should have children, so therefore only high earner should reproduce.
- I will never amount to much
- Working, studying, volunteering is impossible with 5 children.
- A family earning 35k cannot afford one child apparently, yet our wages/tax credits (just looking at this purely from a monetary perspective) care for five, it is about priorities and adjusting your lifestyle if you want more than one. When I am working full time again our combined incomes will see us not being eligible for tax credits (apart from childcare possibly) and we will still afford our children as we keep our outgoings low and are frugal.
Maybe we should all stop having children as who can realistically (not including some higher earners) in this day and age even afford childcare for just one or two children without support.
Tax payers pay into a pot and it is distributed to many different areas of welfare, many of them we will never use in our lifetime.
We pay for higher education, carers, state pensions and benefits, MPs, the Royal Family, Public Services and much more (I just cannot think off the top of my head)
Maybe we should abolish all tax and insurances, scrap all free education including primary/secondary, the whole welfare state, higher education loans Public Services, Armed forces etc etc and lets make it about survival of the fittest and those who are not 'fit' should be put in the workhouse.
I have responded via twitter and email to the author of the article but I have so far been ignored, I expect this is because they prefer to perpetuate the myth that large families, anyone who claims benefits is lazy and workshy.