Now I have had a rant about 9-5 and about Law and the Curriculum, now let’s rant about…
What kind of country do we live in where it is standard and accepted to fine people for living in poverty!?
Now there are varying definitions of poverty, but I am talking about relative poverty where in this country if one cannot afford to live according to the customary standard of living they will fall info that threshold. Some regard poverty as not having 50% disposable income… that will raise an eyebrow or ten as I’m quite sure that many could only dream of having 10% ‘disposable income’ let alone 50! As per my other blogs I will point out that my knowledge is intrinsic and will leave the stats and explicit knowledge to contributors!
My points are quite simple:
If you can pay your telephone line rental annually you pay less than he who ‘chooses’ to pay monthly.
If you can pay your vehicle tax annually you pay less than he who ‘chooses’ to pay monthly, this is much the same with utility bills and any other contract where you have an annual rate that is cheaper than a monthly rate, such as car insurance. Now I already hear the defensive arguments of the administration costs and business reasons for offering the cheaper rate for annual payments but I am not interested in hiding behind rules here. What I am interested in what is morally and ethically right. You see people are already being penalised for not having the money to pay in advance.
Now whichever way you try to dress it up you are making the poor poorer, and you are making the rich richer. If you run a business then you should expect part of that business to provide payment options as a ‘service’ not a ‘penalty’. Car insurance ‘providers’ profit in billions as do utility companies and that is because they impose ‘charges’ for late payments, bounced direct debits and so on. It is wrong.
If you are of the attitude that people should manage their money better then I will say this, you are very lucky to be so ignorant that you do not understand what it is to start life in the red, try to live month by month in the red, and try to build up a contingency in the red so that you can one day pay something annually to give yourself a better chance each month thereafter. If you are lucky enough not to have ‘had’ to pay things monthly then you are free to leave, with no hard feelings, but please do not judge he who you do not truly understand.
And of course banks, they are not getting off scot free here. Whoever said it was okay to charge people who are so desperately struggling to have enough money in the bank each week to meet their outgoings. Again don’t bark terms and conditions and irresponsible spending, you only need to address the statements to see that they could only dream of spending irresponsibly. I am talking about what is morally wrong, inhumane even. Sorry my mistake, I am not talking about what is morally wrong. I AM SHOUTING ABOUT WHAT IS MORALLY WRONG. I have watched a lot of pain and a lot of suffering over the years; as I have experienced it. And I have worked my way through it but it has taken decades and the setbacks have been loud and painful. I am not feeling sorry for myself but what I am doing is kicking off for all those people still in the midst of it, they are suffering and you are profiting from their poverty. Shame on you!
Even the official school photographs, tempted to name the company but I will not – you get fined for ordering after so many days. So if you are not living in poverty you can make that very expensive purchase that every parent wants of their child but if you cannot afford to buy the pictures until next month’s payday you are fined. It makes me feel physically sick that this is how we treat each other and this is how businesses are proud to make their money. It is unethical and it is penalising the poor.
The banks offer ‘rewards’ i.e. ‘cashback’ for eating out at certain restaurants so again the rich get richer but because the person with no disposable income cannot eat out at a restaurant they do not get rewarded by the bank. The bank will bounce a Direct Debit with only a shortfall of £2 yet they will charge 10 x that amount setting the poor person back another fortnight with their weekly outgoings and that charge has a huge knock on effect meaning that enough money is not in the account for the next month’s payments! I can hear a bank manager saying – ‘but we give the customer notice so that they can ensure sufficient funds are in the account to meet the charge’ – oh please! If you are living in poverty without disposable income and without contingency or credit facility where do you think that money is going to come from? I may have mentioned already but it is MORALLY WRONG.
If you have enough disposable income and you are not living in poverty the bank will offer you an overdraft facility, ironic. Most people in poverty could completely turn their lives around with that facility. People in poverty are the only people who are not given a fresh chance a clean slate. You are more likely to get second chances if you commit a crime. Yet the only crime of someone in poverty is never to have solid ground under their feet in the first place.
If you are ‘rich’ you can get a credit card with less than 5% interest, you can then ‘consolidate’ your credit cards to even less than that and do 0% balance transfers just for using the credit. If you are living in poverty you will at very best get a 30% credit card but more likely than not if you need to borrow money you will need to pay in the region of 1500% APR. Again do not judge if you have never been that desperate. You are not cleverer than the family in poverty you have simply had a different history.
Store cards began by offering customers 20% off their purchase in store if you signed up for a card there and then. They took advantage of people who needed 20% off. They then – without checking affordability sent letters out just before Christmas to say ‘we have increased your credit limit by £500’, despite knowing that you have been making minimum payments only for the last 6 months and this minimum payment has paid interest only and your balance remains. These were and are very naughty tactics. Let me remind you not to judge here the people who use that extra credit. Unless you have lived in poverty and have only dreamt of getting your kids presents for Christmas you cannot possibly understand how morally wrong that sales tactic is, now it’s not stupidity that leads the already living on a shoestring budget person to use that credit it is the combination of desperation and optimism. Optimism that things will get better and that those repayments will be affordable next year! THE STORE / CREDIT CARDS NEED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR IRRESPONSIBLE LENDING AND SALES TACTICS.
Again I will point out that if you can start one single year with making annual payments in advance for utilities and contracts then you have a grounding for life, now you may have had that opportunity when you were 16 or perhaps when you were 40 but the difference that it makes is life changing, it may even be that you pay things monthly but you are okay because at some point in your life you had a partially disposable income and the opportunity to build a contingency and I am sick of people being penalised and fined for living in poverty.
Our economy is morally corrupt and this is why the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Oh and for the record, I think that people would be happy to help others if they weren’t so concerned about their own futures, humans can actually be very good to each other when they aren’t afraid.
FINES AND PENALTIES DO NOT HELP ANYBODY, THEY LEAD TO DISCRIMINATION, POVERTY, AND IN EXTREME CASES, SUICIDE. GET A GRIP UK DECISION MAKERS, THIS IS NOT THE RIGHT WAY.
If you are struggling to cope please read my book Finding Happiness and Freeing your Spirit – if you are poor e-mail me and I will send you a free pdf. If you are rich you can buy it! Sorry I’m going against the grain here! Not interested in making the poor poorer…
Now it is late and I am a passionate blogger posting as I am sign-posted so please feel free to point out typos…