hahahahah wtf??? 165 pounds (i dunno the key) a WEEEK??? i don't know the conversions to well (google says its something like 257 dollars) but people are pathetic now a days... i could live off 100 dollars every week easy... i've done it before haha people these days are just so lazy.
To be fair, the living costs in the UK are considerably higher than in the US so a like for like comparison using currency conversion isn’t really going to paint a true picture. That’s not to say I disagree with the sentiment of your comment though, £165 per week is nothing to be sniffed at, but let’s break that down a little based on a single adult with that income as the article suggests...
In the UK, the minimum wage an adult can work for is £6.08 per hour, or for someone working full time, around £12,000 per year. On a weekly basis, that is £230. Assuming they live alone, someone earning that much per week can then look forward to having to mandatorily pay out the following;
£30 income tax and national insurance
£15 council tax
£25 energy and water bills
Now the figures I have used here represent the lowest levels applicable really, anyone would struggle to find anywhere to live over here alone for less than those figures. Above are just the necessities to have a roof over ones head, and that’s 65% of a person’s weekly income instantly gone. Assuming the person isn’t lucky enough to live within walking distance of work, they would then have to factor in travel costs, we’ll forget about them owning a car because that would just be impossible at this income level for a single person living alone, but let’s add £20 for the use of public transport.
There’s your £165 and we’ve not even factored in *ANYTHING
* but living and commuting costs. What about food and other expenses and purchases?
We have though looked at someone on minimum wage paying their rent, bills and commuting costs. They earn just over the ‘poverty line’, at £230 per week before deductions and are left with £65 for the rest of the week. If for some reason they had to own a car, that’d be even less, considering it costs around £5 (~$
per gallon for petrol here. That £65 buys their breakfast, lunch and dinner for the week and has to cover anything else they need to do. It’s not great to be a single person on minimum wage. Of course, they have got a roof over their head, a job and they can feed themselves but luxuries are rare. So for anyone with an income of less than £165 per week gross, you can see why this is considered poor.
Now, being unemployed means that you can remove the tax, rent and commute costs from the equation, but then you are given around £60/week to live on. So working a minimum wage job and all the extra stress that causes is pretty much the same as not bothering to get a job at all. Unfortunately, many people see it that way and this is why we have a huge problem with youth unemployment at the minute.
Quick question though: How would you and your fellow citizens react to a Conservative push to privatize the NHS? Could austerity ever get to this point?
It might be easier for them to do if plans to merge income taxes with national insurance (the two main deductions from our salaries over here) go ahead, since there is a very conscious link for people between paying their national insurance and having access to services that it pays for such as the NHS and unemployment benefit etc. The conservatives are currently trying to introduce sweeping changes to the NHS which some might say is a semi-privatization of sorts, and it is meeting massive resistance. The institution, and access to universal healthcare, has been part of the national identity for over 60 years now. All sides of the political spectrum have grown up with it and for the most part, continue to support its existence.
The NHS is not entirely free on use, there are set charges to be paid for working adults who make use of certain services, but even then these are severely discounted. I recently broke a tooth, called the NHS helpline on Sunday and was seen the following day, had the tooth removed and it cost me just £17 (~$30). If a doctor prescribes any drugs, no matter the type or quantity, we pay just £7 (~$10) to the chemist for them. The ‘horror stories’ of propaganda you hear about the NHS where people are denied access to care are very rare or only occur in exceptional circumstances (such as in the purchase and application of experimental drugs and therapies). Most people can be seen by their doctor, dentist or any other type of practitioner whenever they need to be. The institution isn’t perfect though, and private dental practices, private hospitals and clinics have been popping up around the country over the last few decades, but the important thing is that the option remains and those who need *any
* medical attention can get it regardless of their income or status in society.
As noted, the NHS is paid for as part of the National Insurance tax, which we pay in addition to Income Tax. The rates are as follows for every working adult in the UK;
•if you earn more than £139 a week and up to £817 a week, you pay 12 per cent of the amount you earn between £139 and £817
•if you earn more than £817 a week, you also pay 2 per cent of all your earnings over £817
•In addition to the personal contributions, all employers must also pay 13.8% of your gross salary within the above brackets in National Insurance for you too.
So there is plenty of money for it, the problem really is the excess of bureaucracy and middle management frittering away money on huge IT projects and modernisation. Both are needed, but both have been really poorly managed and cost a hell of a lot more in achieving than they should have. The NHS is just too embedded to ever be abolished or fully privatized, I feel, it would just cause massive and unmanageable upheaval throughout so many sectors of society here.