Tag Archive: benefits


Poverty is a state of mind

My Fotofund project is in need of donations. I am running out of time and money and need to find backers as soon as possible. Please click on the link and read about my project, i think it is a worth while subject.

‘I want to document the effects the austerity measures have created. The struggle families go through to provide the basic necessities for every day living. The struggle young people go through to find work and the punitive measures used against them if they fail. To explore the changes it has made in the definition of poverty and how it differs in the 21st century.’

poverty

‘There have been so many changes to the benefit system. No longer do you get to sign on, walk out the door and collect your money. Now it is job searching 6 days a week and prove it. They have moved the posts on disability benefits. Where once you were helped if you couldn’t do certain things, now you are helped because you can do certain things, only this way there are significantly more people taken off the benefit than are helped. We now have ‘sanctions’ the suspension of your benefit if you don’t toe the line. I want to document the struggle, heartache, despair, that is felt by the people who perhaps didn’t vote in the Tory government and to do that i want to produce a body of photographic work that will show case the emotion, bring to your attention the abject poverty modern families find themselves in.  To show you the effects of the reforms on men, women and children and what it can do to their mental well being’………..

Poverty is a state of mind

who’s mind

no jobs

weary

hopeless

depressed

anger at the struggle for daily living

made to feel worthless and lazy

second class citizens by the very people who should help

tired

ashamed

who do you think you are to say my struggle is all in my head

with your silver spoons and Eton education

do you really think you know how we suffer to live on seven quid a day

you say we need to cut the GDP

what about our debt

the fat cats sit on their cushy jobs and with no mind to the results

cut here cut there

slicing into our lives

but never their own

never their own

the old boy network help themselves and look down on the degraded suicidal

sanctioned

how can we pull ourselves out of this mess when there are no resources for us to use

we are not all lazy

worthless

work shy

scroungers

tell us enough and maybe we start to believe it

is poverty the state of my mind

the struggle is not in my head

we suffer the abuse

the prejudice

the shame of joblessness

oh they say

there are schemes for you to try

but where are the jobs

get yourself back into work

but where are the schemes to help start your business

stress

fear

despair

we will beat it and we will better it

poverty is not a mindful thing

it is that family pushed and shoved and squeezed into debt just because that 1% help themselves and the country goes to pot

but we will do it and we will do it well

and f*uck the government

we will do it without your help

no longer sanctioned

no more shame

not ostracised

stigmatised

demonised

but once again a member of the working class

poverty may still be there

but not in my mind

 

 

Poverty is a state of mind

Poverty doesn’t really exist according to the Tory government it is just a ‘state of mind’ and when i heard this i began to look at what they meant and the governments idea of poverty and what is actual poverty are very very far removed.

I decided to start a photographic project ; http://spikeymousephotography.co.uk/poverty-is-a-state-of-mind and i am funding it through; http://en.fotofund.org/campaigns/poverty-state-mind-damn-government-dictates/ if you would like to donate to it.

The country needs to cut the overall deficit which is expected to be £1.5 trillion in the 2015-16 fiscal year. Now bearing in mind the 33 members of the Tory cabinet who are able to attend cabinet meetings is presently made up of 53% independently educated ministers, with 50% having attended either Oxbridge or Cambridge. They are not short of a quid or two, they get a good stipend for what they do and the perks are many. So when they are gathered around the table and looking at ways to cut the countries deficit they seem to protect themselves, keeping their tax low, giving themselves raises over the 1% the nurses receive, cutting benefits for the people who need them the most. And it is this that got me thinking and looking at how it has affected ordinary people.

 The bedroom tax,  a cut in your housing benefit if you live in a council or housing association property and have what is classified as a ‘spare’ bedroom. You can only claim for a certain number of bedrooms, depending on how many people live in your home. This means that the amount of net rent covered by housing benefit is cut by:

  • 14% if you have one spare bedroom
  • 25% if you have two or more spare bedrooms

So this means if you are disabled and have an empty bedroom where you keep your medical equipment because its close to you or you have no where else to store it, you are penalised for living in accommodation that it too large for your needs.

Disability benefits have been reassessed, changed from what you cant do to what you can do, which completely rules out certain disabilities from receiving benefits full stop and they are then placed onto benefits forcing them back to work regardless of them being fit to or not. And if they don’t find work or jump through hoops looking for work they are sanctioned, their money stopped for weeks, months or upwards of THREE years. Which then leads to food banks and well yes, poverty.

So the ministers sitting at their table with no money worries, perhaps they have old family wealth behind them, or are lucky to know someone who knows someone who can get them onto the board of the large companies, decide how to add money to the coffers to pay back the £1.5 Trillion the Country owes, not by raising the taxes on the rich or on the big multinational companies but by penalising the every day person, Mr and Mrs Normal. And they say ‘Poverty is a state of mind’.

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*Telegraph.co.uk, Guardian.com, Sutton Trust for additional data

 

Picture it, the start of a life, your born into a loving family, are brought up by that family to the best of their abilities given their social and economic backgrounds. As you grow up your family instills in you a sense of person, of responsibility and an ethos of how you should live your life and when you reach adult hood all of those things mean nothing because the government have messed up the economy of your country through their own greed and ego.
yp leaving home
At the age of 19 you want to leave home and start out on your own, you feel compelled to do this not because you have been forced to but because you have a partner or just want the adventure. What do you find out there in the big wide world? Well no jobs that’s for certain, not for your age group with no work experience and not so many qualifications. Now you don’t want to go home and say you have failed because in essence you haven’t but if you want to continue living in your little apartment you need to fund your living costs. There are different avenues open to you, get a job (?), live in a place with no intention of paying for it until you are tossed out, turn to crime or claim benefits.
jc sign
The benefit system was introduced to help specific people when they fell on hard times, workers who had lost their job, fallen sick or didn’t earn enough to pay for rent etc. You didn’t grow up and go straight onto benefits, that’s not what they are there for. But if you are that young person who has had to leave home, through abuse, death of parents, or by just being made homeless what is there in place to help you?
Apparently there are a few places which offer assisted living for kids aged 16 to late 20’s, find one if you can, government cuts and all. There is living on the streets, no thanks. If you are lucky to find a room to rent and are old enough to claim benefit the dear old boy network which our government is made up of these days has made it so hard to get any help that it is a wonder that there are not more kids living in a cardboard box under a bridge or committing suicide. You go to the job center, yeah right, benefits office and ask to sign on a benefit, you jump through hoops filling in a mound of forms only to be told ‘no sorry you can’t claim that, your not eligible’ on to the next form and in the end you finally manage to sort something out, yes they will pay your rent and housing benefit, they will give you money for your electric and food but to get it all they want you to perform so many different tasks on different days and if your early or if your late or if you don’t or if you do but at the wrong time, well now they have you over a barrel. There is a new word, ‘sanction’, the dreaded word no one on benefits wants to hear, because if you don’t do as your told when your told we will stop your money you naughty poverty stricken person.
o-STRUGGLING-POOR-PERSON-facebook
Who came up with it? Oh yes those elite and very wealthy men in suits. What they don’t understand is the harm they are doing to the young people who have no other option other than to ask for help. Like the kid who has left home, is job hunting but hasn’t found a job they like enough to stick at it, maybe they forget an appointment, don’t job search enough to satisfy a little hitler behind a desk and get a sanction. Maybe they make a few consecutive mistakes and are sanctioned for months on end, their money stops, they are told that as one benefit isn’t paying their rent then they have to pay full council tax, you owe us £700 mate, pay up by next week or else. No food or elecy? tough it out, ask your mum and dad, find the money from somewhere, don’t get caught shop lifting a butty because your starving as you’ll end up in court with a fine you have to pay out of thin air, your starving, you have nowhere to live as you have been kicked out of your supported accommodation because you can’t pay, you can’t go home, you don’t want people to think you have failed, you can’t bear to think you have failed. You wander the streets and a couple of months down the line you are sitting on a park bench wondering how you came to be homeless. Your dirty and haven’t eaten a proper meal in weeks and now you have absolutely no chance of getting a job because businesses don’t employ the homeless. All the while the suits in government shake their heads at the unemployment figures and try to find new ways to force people to get off their butts and find a job.
homeless-person-sleeping-in-cardboard-box
Today’s government are so far removed from ordinary folk that they can’t see what harm they are doing, it would be very interesting to find out figures over the last four years, how many have committed suicide because they have been denied the help they were receiving, how many sick and disabled, young and old who have been driven to the brink when they have had their much needed money stopped because the government have moved targets or changed requirements. You can’t tell the suits to go and live like ordinary people because the suits who have enough can never live long enough like an ordinary person to understand what they go through every day, every week of their lives.
Unfortunately there isn’t a political party at the moment who can run our country like the good old fashioned Labour party, the party run by working class men for working class families and until there is a party who can we are stuck with Eaton educated wealthy men trying to tell us how to live our lives. You can’t vote them out as there is no one to replace them with so for the foreseeable future young people, the people who will eventually be responsible for our country are being battered and down trodden and forced into poverty. What kind of future can they look forward to?

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