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Just a bit of dismality

and something to mull over whilst supping your pot of tea.

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Male
terry  Male  West Yorkshire 2-Nov-2019 00:14 Message #4761157
The Poor Law was not designed to address the issue of poverty, which was considered to be the inevitable lot for most people; rather it was concerned with pauperism, "the inability of an individual to support himself". Writing in 1806 Patrick Colquhoun commented that:

Poverty ... is a most necessary and indispensable ingredient in society, without which nations and communities could not exist in a state of civilisation. It is the lot of man – it is the source of wealth, since without poverty there would be no labour, and without labour there could be no riches, no refinement, no comfort, and no benefit to those who may be possessed of wealth.

Not my words I hasten to add, but something I came across which got me thinking.

What do you think of the above statement?
and
What would you say of the comment in relation to today's society?
Male
Nigel_In_Devon  Male  Devon 2-Nov-2019 06:32 Message #4761161
Sounds like bs to me! I don't see why there is a need for poverty. The threat of it being there, maybe.
Female
NoSaint  Female  Devon 2-Nov-2019 07:14 Message #4761172
I can see the logic but I don’t agree. It’s true that if everyone was rich then nobody would provide labour and society would have a problem but it doesn’t need poverty to do that it only needs people to need, or want, more money.
Interesting piece terry.
Male
MrQuiet  Male  Northamptonshire 2-Nov-2019 08:55 Message #4761184
Patrick Colquhoun was an interesting guy. I think I will do a bit of reading up on him. I like your posts terry with the facts and/or questions but no political rhetoric. The subject of your post is a good one for discussion.
Female
Minnie-the-Minx  Female  Hertfordshire 2-Nov-2019 08:57 Message #4761185
What it seems to be saying is that you can't have wealth without having poor people to create your wealth for you. It's a quote form a time when only the wealthy were considered human and the poor were not even considered.
Female
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 2-Nov-2019 11:18 Message #4761195
Usual excuses for capitalism. We still have forms of it today, the rich are paid more to incentivise them whereas the poor are paid less, we still haven't really got over the idea that poverty is due to moral laxity, rather than lack of opportunities, or poor health, or poor pay and conditions.
Male
terry  Male  West Yorkshire 2-Nov-2019 18:06 Message #4761238
I'm one of the billions of people who dislike the system of society that we have, but - as many keep reminding me - I can't think of an alternative. The quote from Colquhoun put into words far better than I could what my main disagreement with the system is.
The period of the late 1700's, early 1800's was interesting because it was a time when the general populations of the world were questioning the order of things and their places in it.
What I think Colquhoun's comment strikingly makes a point about, is it places responsibility for wealth firmly on shoulders of the wealthy and their willingness to share or not share it...it puts into words the greed of man, he also doesn't say (in this comment) what he means by wealth other than riches, refinement, comfort.
He is trying to make a distinction between poverty and pauperism (a word we rarely use nowadays, except to describe particular kinds of funerals) and even now, I would argue that many of us don't see a difference or understand a difference?
Female
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire 2-Nov-2019 19:37 Message #4761246
Terry,

I would imagine you might be interested in "The "Ragged Trousered Philanthropists" by Robert Tressell and written in 1906 by an impoverished house painter, though it can't help but have a political stance by the very situation the book is written from.
Male
HotOrWot  Male  Lancashire 2-Nov-2019 21:07 Message #4761249
I can see the logic but I don’t agree. It’s true that if everyone was rich then nobody would provide labour and society would have a problem but it doesn’t need poverty to do that it only needs people to need, or want, more money.
Interesting piece terry.


Agree. It doesn’t need to involve poverty just the differentials in wealth. Fleecing the rich will never help the poor but sensible measures of redistribution could bring more fairness.
Male
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey 2-Nov-2019 21:11 Message #4761252
Terry

In relation to today's society in the UK - we do have a redistributive system of taxes/benefits.

Currently over half of UK households are net takers from that system.

More specifically - if we look at the bottom and top fifths of household incomes (quintiles) - on a gross basis there is around a 15 fold disparity top v bottom.

However once taxes/benefits are factored in that disparity reduces to nearer 4 fold.

We see that most clearly illustrated in the 37% of households who rent their homes - as almost half (4.7 million households) have all or most of their rent paid by HB/LHA as applicable - as well as having a big reduction in payable Council Tax. Some 65% of all housing benefits go to social landlords - that being a net result of the 1977 change to needs-based allocation of social tenancies. Prior to 1977 Council housing was allocated very strictly to those who could demonstrate adequate earnings to pay the rents - indeed in 1979 the average Council tenant earned 73% of the average wage - around £21000 pa in today's money.
Female
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire 2-Nov-2019 21:55 Message #4761262
We need less differential between the lowest wage and the highest and more recognition that those on minimum wage are usually as important as those on a top level wage, they are symbiotic (if that is the right word). One could not exist without the other.

I don't mean a cleaner in a GP surgery should be paid the same as a doctor who has studied for 7 years and bears the responsibility of life, but it shouldn't mean the cleaner should not afford to buy a home, enjoy a holiday or two and manage to save a bit. Since the doctor is not going to clean the surgery, in a sense, both jobs are equally important but the cleaner is paid around £8 and hour and the doctor £50 to £150 an hour. It does seem disproportionate.
Male
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey 3-Nov-2019 11:25 Message #4761325
We can of course further increase the UK min wage - maybe to around £15 hr in an attempt to remove the taxpayer subsidy on employers' wage bills via eg Tax Credits/Housing Benefit etc.

But would such action mean an increase in net household income for the formerly low paid workers?

If the hypothetical cleaner is say the main breadwinner in their household and there are dependent children - then it is pretty inevitable that any cleaner or similar low income worker will also be on benefits.

Anyone claiming means tested benefits - and who then increases their earned income - will of course be hit with the 63% benefit clawback which is applied to any additional net income.

So an extra gross £100 weekly earnings is first taxed at 32% Tax/NI - then the remaining £68 sees the 63% deduction for benefit clawback applied - leaving net extra pay of just £25.16 - an effective overall tax rate of 74.84%.

Any such worker with extra commute/childcare costs may be worse off by earning more - that being the nature of the progressive tax system.

An overall look at the UK benefit system will also show that in effect it acts largely as a glorified child benefit system - seen most starkly in the radically different rates of housing benefit payable to say jobless singletons/couples at the lower extreme vs the max £23000 for a 4 bed property in central London - whereas a childless singleton below age 35 gets just £5631.60 pa.

That £23k tax free benefit is also the OBC in London for a workless household - and equates to a gross earned income of around £30,000 (allowing for 5% pension contribution) - more than we pay newly graduated Nurses/Teachers in London.

In a simplistic/ideal world we would indeed place the whole of the wage burden on employers - but the 2 obvious consequences would be higher inflation eroding value of those higher wages - as well as cries from eg Nurses/Teachers etc for a big pay rise to maintain differentials.
Male
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey 3-Nov-2019 11:50 Message #4761332
Bottom line in current system is that work often does not pay - despite Ian Duncan-Smith's contrary assertion.

Working more hours - or getting a better paid job only really works for childless singletons as they get to keep far more of that extra gross income - as they get very little in benefit income - esp if living away from London/SE as any benefit they do get will largely comprise the graded housing benefit.
Female
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 3-Nov-2019 12:05 Message #4761339
To be honest Lyn I think that sort of change will only come in when those in positions of power can no longer get cleaners and nannies etc because people on low wages can't afford to live in London and probably other big cities too, and can't afford to travel into them or have to live to far away to make commuting a possibility.

Male
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey 3-Nov-2019 12:18 Message #4761344
That said I know in Surrey domestic cleaners can command around £12 hr and that will usually be cash in hand too - so on a gross basis is worth more than double the adult min wage of £8.21.

Child minding has been made far dearer by Govt increasing the mandatory minimum ratio of staff as well as progressive increases in min wage.

The min wage itself has more than doubled over past 20 yrs - a far bigger percentage increase than the UK average wage which is up only around 36% from c.£21k in 1999 to £28.7k today.
Female
Victoriana11  Female  Buckinghamshire 3-Nov-2019 16:30 Message #4761377
Boydel - domestic cleaners in S Bucks command (demand) around £18-20 per hour... cash too. Gardeners and tree cutters around £45 per hour.
Male
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey 3-Nov-2019 16:45 Message #4761379
I based my £12 hr on the rates in the numerous flyers I get through letter box - though commercial firms like Molly Maids charge far more of course (not that individual staff are paid very much).

By their nature - jobs such as cleaners/gardeners/tree surgeons are insecure as is any self employment - and latter two need to invest a fair bit of cash in equipment/vehicles.
Male
terry  Male  West Yorkshire 3-Nov-2019 16:50 Message #4761380
£12.00, £15.00, £18.00, £20.00...flippin' eck, I was on less than that when working...my son even now gets just above £11.00 per hour.
Male
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey 3-Nov-2019 17:11 Message #4761382
Yes Terry - those hrly rates are attractive - but only constitute a breadwinner's wage if paid for say a g'teed 35/40 hrs weekly.

As I flagged earlier over half of UK households are now net takers from the tax/welfare system.

Since 2010 there has been almost a doubling in the number of working households claiming housing benefit - an increase of around 500,000 households.
Male
Colonel_Blink  Male  Buckinghamshire 4-Nov-2019 08:12 Message #4761415
It would be good to see governments working towards a fairer society but to do that they need “society” to join in with sensible and feasible plans which I’ve yet to see.
Labour definitely talk much better policies which sound great in the media but which often have the opposite affect to how they sound and the poorer people get the most pain.
Conservatives don’t pander to the media in the same way but some of their policies which look as if they help the rich actually help the poor too.
Finance is complex as are many of the plans put forward my government but the media doesn’t want the facts or the truth. The media wants the sound bites and headlines.
Female
Aely  Female  Hampshire 4-Nov-2019 20:53 Message #4761478
Things have improved in one way Boydel. When I was on a top-up benefit in the late 1990s the clawback was 100%. When offered overtime I turned it down as it would have made not a penny difference to my income.
Female
NoSaint  Female  Devon 4-Nov-2019 23:12 Message #4761505
Colonel_Blink Male Buckinghamshire 4-Nov-2019 08:12 new Message #4761415
It would be good to see governments working towards a fairer society but to do that they need “society” to join in with sensible and feasible plans which I’ve yet to see.
Labour definitely talk much better policies which sound great in the media but which often have the opposite affect to how they sound and the poorer people get the most pain.
Conservatives don’t pander to the media in the same way but some of their policies which look as if they help the rich actually help the poor too.
Finance is complex as are many of the plans put forward my government but the media doesn’t want the facts or the truth. The media wants the sound bites and headlines.


Makes sense.
Male
terry  Male  West Yorkshire 4-Nov-2019 23:40 Message #4761509
So would it be correct to think, apart from your comment about the media - which I wholeheartedly agree with you about - that Colqhoun was correct in his comment about poverty and the poor? that without them there would be no wealth for the wealthy.
I'm trying to avoid party political ideologies here so won't comment about eitherof the main parties because as so many say, and as history has taught us, it doesn't matter what ideology a person spouts when trying to gain power because once they do, life returns to the usual wealth for the wealthy? It's also fair to say Colqhoun was trying to explain a difference between idleness for the sake of idleness and poverty because of things perhaps beyond a person's control.

Unless I'm misunderstanding it, which I'll accept is possible.
Male
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey 5-Nov-2019 13:09 Message #4761571
Terry
Colqhoun was correct in the era in which he made that statement - but today across the world we have billions of surplus workers in the new era where most of the grunt work - as well as routine processes - have been automated so we need far less paid human labour - as both white and blue collar jobs have been eradicated.

In UK 25% plus of all jobs are part time (8 million plus) so in effect that adds 4 million to the unemployed total - if we made all those jobs full time and sacked half the workers. Many of those part time workers will be topping up their income via benefit system - with around 1 million working households claiming housing benefit and many others claiming tax credits.

The news about Mothercare's demise shows that of the remaining 2500 workers - 80% are part time - probably due to the fact that the Employer's NI threshold is at earnings of £166 weekly - which at min wage is a tad over 20 hrs weekly. One full time worker thus costs Employer around £23 pw extra vs 2 part timers with no NI to pay. Overall in Mothercare those 2000 part time workers saves the company close to £1.2 million pa in NI payments.

Mothercare will also be saving around £700,000 on auto enrolment pension contributions for those 2000 part time workers.

Elsewhere a look at the grocery business since WW2 shows it operated like Arkwright's in the early years ie very labour intensive - whereas for decades the customer now does much of the labour and increasingly now uses the self check out option.

All of the above are out of the control of individual workers - though it can be argued that the benefit system is set up currently so as to make low paid work not worth doing for households with dependent children - with the benefit taper allowing worker to keep barely a quarter of extra gross earnings - and even that small extra often being eradicated by childcare/commute costs etc.
Male
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey 5-Nov-2019 13:15 Message #4761573
Fair point Aely - I do recall an instance around that time when a lone parent co worker doing 25 hrs weekly refused a full time job as her HB would have been severely cut.

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