Mortgages and Housing Crisis

We have a lot of high profile talk at the moment about the #housingcrisis and a lot of amazing people trying to solve the issue of high private rents – encouraging the building of more affordable homes to enable people to work, and enjoy a decent standard of living, without being cripled by rising living costs and stagnant archaic wages.

And so I ask – why are we not making it possible for everybody to enjoy home ownership?  It shoud be based on affordability – or rather what it being paid out in rent, rather than measured by deposit and credit score.  When you have had a difficult financial past the sentence on your credit file is greater than committing a serious crime against another person.

When one suffers adverse credit is it assumed that they do not manage their money well or they are workshy, when that is not the case – the issue is the cost of living v income – I ask any politician or top 10% earner to live on an income on minimum or living wage and pay private rents and be penalised for having to pay everything else monthly too (higher car insurance, higher utilities etc), and to have to pay water rates instead of water usage because they cannot have a meter because they are tenants.  I was paying £80 a month instead of £18 a month (on-line calculated usage) – so the Water Company boss enjoyed a 21million bonus whilst I had to eat bread.

But this is about mortgages – yes there is always a risk but when a mortage company has so much to gain they should be more liable with the risk for the gain – and why is this so important?

I wrote to the Gov about it (as you do) and asked the question – and they responded that it ‘wasn’t in their interest’ to push mortgage companies to offer mortgages without despoit or good credit score – of course it isn’t.  If you build housing you have a guaranteed income for generation after generation of people who are locked out of homebuying.

When you are a tenant you are unable to enjoy a private life, i.e. pets, landscaping, decorating, even hanging pictures on the wall, and more importantly you will pay rent to the day you die.  You will be worried about that months rent as you draw your last breath.  With home ownership you pay for 25/30 years and than you have your own estate, for your children to enjoy, so that they too are not trapped in private rental, social rental or any other rental that pays to the private estate of another or the estate of the Crown.  Granted your estate goes back to the Crown too if you don’t get your will sorted properly but at least home ownership gives you freedom to a private life and light at the end of the tunnel, so that even if you buy when you’re 40 you have the chance of relaxing a little at 65.  Those in rental will not relax at 65, nor 75, nor 85, nor 95.  So of course it’s not in the inerest of the government to make mortages available to all, they want the income for generation after generation.

The simple matter of a deposit, and credit score locks people out of a decent life, for generations.  These people pay somewhere between £600 and £1200 on private rent every month, just because that person could buy a buy to let.   It is not about being workshy, these are hardworking people who could be paying LESS on a mortage, and have light at the end of the tunnel, and, enjoy a private life and give stability to their children.  Who without stability may need to turn to HB.

I’m so ashamed sometimes of how this country works, or doesn’t work, for those less priviledged with security.

I am not anti affordable housing – I am very pro affordable housing – people need to be able to afford to live and if wages aren’t going to double overnight then housing is crucial, but also mortages would go a long way to solving this crisis and moving half of society out of private rented accomodation which absolutely capitalises at the expense of those less fortunate.  Let’s get both sorted please.

 

Update October 2019 – I have recently learned of a £25K Grant available to landlord to help them bring empty properties up to standard to rent out.  Surely that grant could go to people desperate to get on the housing ladder rather than those set to profit at the expense of those in adversity…

Health scare inspired me to fight for work life in sync with school

It was 2016.  I was just in the process of completing my law degree but I wasn’t feeling well.  A visit to the Dr resulted in a string of tests that identified that my body wasn’t producing enough platelets.  What we had to figure out was why?

Weeks felt like months as the Dr was carrying out tests to my bone marrow – and my brain was going haywire.  We all know that you shouldn’t turn to Dr Google under such circumstances but it was hard not to.  Why is my bone marrow not producing enough platelets I asked?  What I was reading gave me a very real feeling that my life could be under threat, and I cuddled my daughter to sleep with tears streaming down my face, praying that I could do that as long as she needed me to.

During this period of contemplation I was so full of fear; I was so sick with worry that my time with my daughter would be reduced.  I love(d) her so much and I could not bare the thought of leaving, as I’m sure no parent can… I did not care too much for ambition, the degree suddenly seemed worthless, all I wanted was to be with my daughter, every possible minute of every day.  I did not want to miss a cuddle, a tear, a moment of her amazing life.

Finally the news came, I was diagnosed with Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), not great, but not what I feared, and I now had distinct clarity that I would work whenever I could when my daughter was asleep, or in school, but that every other moment was far too precious and the future was so uncertain that I did not want to get caught up in a corporate career, to make us excessively well off, with the high price that I would miss the most important thing in the world to be alive for.  So with a very mild shadow over my life I fight for every moment with my child.  And I fight to work hard every moment that she is otherwise engaged.  It won’t be long before she no longer requires my attention.  And whilst I want to be ‘present’ for her, I also do not want her to struggle, and so I fight, and do all that I can do, without, needing to leave her for too long to do it. .

I will take the occasional early morning, and attend the occasional exhibition, naturally, there needs to be a little give; she is already enjoying more time with her friends and the prospect of a playdate so that mummy can come home late excites her, but that is all it will be for now.  I do not regret a single moment that I have struggled to spend time with her.  I will never regret spending time with my daughter instead of being wealthier sooner.  Health is such a precious thing.  Life can be stolen at a moments notice, and experiencing the reality of a health-scare really helps you to put ambition into perspective.  It’s great to be ambitious, but not if it makes you lose sight of what really matters.  I was going to quit the idea of law altogether, as I had decided that nothing was worth leaving her for, but then I decided to look for part-time legal work, and I ran a FB campaign which paid off, you have to be instrumental in making your work-life work for you, it won’t knock on your door (unless you are connected by privilege) – you have to go and find it.

I celebrate the movement towards work life in sync with school life / flexible working / part-time working, and I always promote the companies that make that possible, as long as it is for a decent wage too.  Wages have not risen in line with true inflation, and the Gov aren’t really dealing with this as they have no first hand experience of it and employers are reluctant to make changes because it is their profits, and so the responsibility is with us, the workforce, to say that ‘I will help you run your business, but you will need to adequately remunerate me, and if you can’t see this then I will have no choice but to work for myself’.  The onus is on us, to say what is no longer acceptable, until eventually people will have to come before profits.

Every person should be able to earn £2K per month for 25hours per week, at least.  That would be in-line with property and bills inflation.

Life is short, treat as you like to be treated, and treasure every precious moment, as we never know when that moment will be our last x

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The Power of ‘Not Minding’

Once upon a time I cared, a lot, about being judged, about being disapproved of, about being ‘beneath’ other people, and I was a people pleaser, much to my own detriment.  I was so afraid of confrontation that rather than express my concerns I would run, and hide.  I never wanted to be seen as being a problem, in any way shape of form, and so I kept quiet.  I took it so personally when anybody looked at me with anything less than love in their eyes, I could feel it, it penetrated my love of humanity to the core, and I did not want to give anybody a reason to look at me with anything less than love.

Something happens as you mature, you accept that people are different.  People will disapprove of you, not because of you, but because of them; their beliefs, their ignorance, their different passions and lack of understanding of yours.  We all have frustration that other human beings see the world with different eyes.  Naturally, from a very young age we are programmed to think that we should thinking the same thoughts, working towards the same goals, wearing the same clothes, and doing as we are told, and inhibiting our own thought process – and so it is no wonder that by the time we reach puberty and adulthood that we are already in deep despair that we have been unable to evolve naturally, or at the very least to our own nature.

As I was in despair and trying to fit into to being somebody that I was not in my 20’s the depression just kicked in, I could not find the words to articulate what it was that I wanted to say, or how I felt that this world was not meant for me.  I was so desperately trying to fit in that I allowed myself to be abused in many ways, and when I needed to stand up for myself and have a simple conversation, I was quite incapable and so hid behind the court system, so that I could be indirectly confrontational, which of course only made matters worse, and resulted in a decade of abuse and harassment.

The wonderful thing about this is, when you have spent the best part of 20 years being either abused, or harassed, or walked over, or attacked, you break to the floor so many times that you realise how capable you are of getting back up.  And when you realise that other people’s actions reflect their personalities, and not yours, you make peace with who you are and who you have been.  You realise that whatever comes next will bounce off you and that you will only carry the pain, and the words, and the insults, and the misunderstanding and judgments if you accept them.

When you are happy with you are as person, and comfy in your own skin, you really do not mind what others say, or how they try to make you feel, you have absolute clarity that you can press on through life being true to who your are, authentic to your own spirit, living your true existence, and you can literally feel free of external judgement, or lack of encouragement.  It is about being 100% comfy in your own skin, that is not thinking that you are perfect, what is perfection anyway?  It is about knowing that you are you, your body is your body, your mind is your mind, your clothes are your style, your hair is your hair.  If you have no enemy within, the external world really cannot hurt you, as they are not touching a nerve, and if you are truly free of needing external verification, you are very powerful, and very free.

The simplest things do not  concern you.  I have never (at least not in the last few years) worried about page likes, or post likes, or engagement, or any of those things that can make you feel ‘validated’.  I share stuff for the purpose of raising awareness of business, or trying to help others in the knowledge that my words will resonate with some, but if nobody sees that is okay.  I know that who needs to see will see, who needs to engage will engage.  To live your life for purpose, and not for praise, is very empowering indeed.

I say not minding instead of not caring as for me ‘not caring’ carries an undercurrent of attitude, when you say that you do not care, it almost sounds as though you do care but are being defensive of that – that is okay if that works for you, but for me ‘not minding’ is much more peaceful.  I am no longer ashamed of my journey, I am no longer concerned about being judged,  I have struggled greatly and I talk openly about adversity and mental health because I don’t mind, I don’t mind if people don’t get it, that is their journey, not mine.  I get it, it happened, I share it, I’m at peace with my mistakes, I’m at peace with where I am at now, and that leaves me free to make a noise, to help others.  I am no longer afraid of the flames, for I am the fire.

We ARE all different, and people will always dislike who you are or what you do – that is the nature of humanity, and that is how our spirits beautifully interact when we know we have found one like us x

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Employees are Vulnerable. It’s time to step up.

I have been laying awake at night of late thinking about how a significant proportion of society are living in relative poverty, and those of you who are familiar with my blogging will know that I don’t look for things to blog about, I have very little choice in the matter, I lose sleep and the universe will not permit me to sleep again until I say what needs to be said.

Yesterday, Oxfam (via Twitter) very kindly signposted me to their hard work on tackling UK poverty (amongst other things), and perfectly quoted:

‘When a company does not ensure a living wage is paid, the most vulnerable people in its supply chain suffer as a result. This is unfair and unsustainable.’

Source: https://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/our-work/inequality/towards-a-living-wage

Now I do realise that living wage is better than minimum wage and I understand why people are taking baby steps, but then baby steps have not been taken in every other area of inflation and it is time we caught up.  Even living wage is not enough to enable people to live their lives every week, month, year, without worrying about meeting the rent or mortgage, and without being penalised by the banks or utility or insurance companies for having to pay monthly.  You will see my earlier blogs on penalised for being poor and inflation.  There is no quality of life for most people, just look at them in the supermarket, their spirit is dead and they cannot pick anything up without worrying if they can afford to include it in that week’s shop.

I came across this Guardian US tweet the other day, and whilst it is in the US it is absolutely bang on the nail for the issues faced in this country by public and private sector employees.

Please watch it here:  http://singlemumsbusinessnetwork.co.uk/useful-links/4594561112

Many company bosses will convince themselves that they are paying their staff a fair wage, mainly by comparing it with other similar salaries for similar roles, but do you remember your mum saying this ?’If somebody told you to jump in front of a bus would you do it?, no, use your own brain.

Employers must take a greater responsibility for ensuring that none of their employees are stressed about money, especially when it is as a direct result of them putting profits before people. The onus in on employers at the Gov are failing epically to look after their people, they are so out of touch that they are incapable of leading properly, and if you are waiting for them to force you to pay a higher wage then you are failing epically too.  I caught a glimpse of the Martin Lewis Money Show where MP James Brokenshire seemed to be quite chuffed with announcing the minimum wage has increased to £8.21.  (Parliament’s expenses watchdog confirmed the salary for MPs will rise from £77,379 to £79,468 from April 1. It contrasts with welfare benefits remaining frozen for a fourth year in row.  Ministers like Mr Brokenshire get a second salary on top) Now I’m sure he’s a nice enough chap, but ignorance is a very real downside humanity, you cannot lead what you do not understand, just as you cannot teach what you have not learned.

https://twitter.com/SMBN33422746/status/1113337409696149506

I am not interested in excuses.  Please do not pay your vulnerable staff a wage and then pay yourself significantly more, plus a significant bonus (and they really are vulnerable.  The thought of rocking the boat at work fills most people with fear of further poverty or hostility) .  Plus panic buy office equipment at year end to keep profits down and the tax bill low.  It happens everywhere.  You can not tell how much your staff are struggling by looking at them, but I guarantee that anything less than £10 is too little and this has to rapidly increase to £15 or £20 (support staff).

You may ask where this money will come from – if you do, please back it up with your accounts and personal expenditure v what difference the payrise would make to your bonus.  As for public sector pay.  We would all pay more tax, and there would be significantly less need for help, so this swings in roundabouts.

Employees are vulnerable.  Look after them like you would look after your own family, after all, they are helping you run your company.

I think that’s enough to let me sleep..

Although final note, I appreciate the process of working your way up the ladder, but the bottom of the ladder should not be in the gutter, as it currently is.  The only excuse for living wage is supported young / trainee people learning a trade, for a very limited period of time.

I also do not proof read my blogs, I am a passion blogger and I must press send before I read.  So apologies if typos offend you!

Jules x

 

 

 

Single Mums Business Network

I’ve been busy! See my other blog site www.singlemumsbusinessnetwork.com Slide3

I’ll still post blogs on here about all things that rattle my cage but the SMBN is taking over for now! Caring & Sharing X

Work /Life Balance – Make it Happen

As I was walking my dog in the woods this morning, protecting her from a bird of prey and taking in the beauty of the autumn leaves (I know it’s not autumn) and watching the squirrels enjoy their natural habitat I was acutely aware of how happy I am to have the flexible work /life balance that I have created.

Whilst I was enjoying my dog walk, Outlook was sending summary e-mails to my clients that I had scheduled at 11pm to send at 9:30a.m. Facebook was posting pre-scheduled posts and my washing machine was washing my clothes!  How easy we have it these days compared to our elders.

When I became a mum – all I really wanted was a secure, well paid, engaging role to keep me busy 30 hours a week whilst my daughter was in school allowing me to occasionally swap lunch for parent assembly or sports day.  The reality of how difficult this was/is forced me into a battle of creating self-employment and asserting myself non aggressively with availability.  I fought to sustain my business and utilise my skills wherever possible to help that happen.

This week I have been extremely busy with networking in my capacity as freelance BDM, seeing clients at KIH Holistics, having conference calls in my capacity as freelance assistant in Civil Litigation, planning to attend an exhibition for the KIH Bed, studying and dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.

My point is that people don’t mind if you control your diary, often we are too keen to please and consequently we compromise our own wellbeing.  My clients do not mind that I am unavailable between 3pm and 7pm.  They are happy with a conference call at 2pm or 9pm.  I am happy to prepare summary e-mails at 11pm and schedule them to send at 9:30 a.m.  My BDM clients do not mind that I am only available to network for them during school hours.  What matters is that I am committed to helping them and I do what I do well.  Sometimes we fear reactions too much.

As a mum I have 30 hours in the week that I can manage my workload and 21 hours in the evening that I can prepare my workload.  I attend every parent assembly and I pick my daughter and drop her off.  I look pretty rough and it would be easy for other parents to assume I do not work, but that does not concern me, what concerns me is that I can do homework with my daughter, cook tea for her, bathe her, read her a story and accompany her to groups.

*You do have to fight for work /life balance.  It doesn’t knock on your door, you need to actively contact people and don’t be shy about your availability and fee.  I ran a Facebook campaign to find the flexible legal experience.  I targeted solicitors and such like within an hour of my home, and it paid off.  You have to make it happen.  With every 100 no’s follows a yes (ish).

*Whilst we are still fighting for work/life balance due to this stiff British mindset there are some fantastic companies out there leading the way with part-time or flexible employment that does not insult the brain or pocket, and these companies are game changers, leaders not followers, they recognise the importance of being able to juggle what matters to you without this affecting your professional output.

Don’t give up, it can take years to get the balance right and the correct fulfilling work, you just need to be honest with yourself if something is getting you down and keep looking for work that fulfils you, pays you correctly, and does not make you feel like a bum for wanting to be a ‘full-time’ mum.

Note I schedule late night emails to send in the morning as it can be very stressful to receive work e-mails in the evening, we should be free to relax unless we ‘choose’ not to, that is the difference between scheduling and email and actually sending it.  We are primitively wired to be on high alert as the day becomes night and so fight or flight response is much more likely if an email stresses us out in the evening.  Send serious (or possibly invasive) emails in the day when people are better placed to receive them.

Caring & Sharing

 

 

 

 

Working for Poverty & Self-Employment

‘It doesn’t pay to work’.  This is something I have heard for many years and the words have caused me great discomfort.  It is often perceived that living on benefits is a comfy lifestyle option, and with great analysis I have reached my own conclusion, which of course I am sharing as we all know I love to put the world to rights, as I see it.

My working life began age 14.  I was working as a waitress for £2.50 an hour.  An eight and a half hour working day bought me in £21.25p.  You will see an image below to evidence this (I had no idea why I had kept this for nearly 30 years until now.  I just trusted that I needed to!).  The wage slip is from when I had just turned 15, and it was before I was issued an NI number.  The minimum wage today, 27 years later is £3.70 for an apprentice, and £4.20 for school leaving age.  Source Acas

You can start to see where I am going with this, but at this point I recommend getting a coffee, as I have much to say on the matter!

When you look at inflation of property, food, living costs, fuel, taxes, and everything else, nothing compares, nothing at all (sorry Sinead).  It is beyond diabolical and completely unforgivable.  You will know if you follow my blogs that I do not do stats, I am quite simply too lazy, but here are some links for you to read A Telegraph article from ‘last week’ on how prices have changed over 30 years and A Sunlife article from 2016 on house prices The Telegraph article is great to read, I love seeing that the collective consciousness is on the same page with this.  You will see that there is evidence of a 500% house price increase.  That would suggest to me that the intern should now be on a minimum wage of £12.50 an hour, and the minimum wage should be more like £20 an hour (at least).  You may think that is completely unreasonable but unfortunately that is society following suit.  Employers are all following government guidelines and consequently are getting away with it, enjoying huge profits and fat top line salaries at the expense of their employees.  CIPD have recently published a report which again, is music to my ears about employee wellbeing with respect to financial strain, I am passionate about employee wellbeing and this report supports that low pay causes stress.  Read it here

Now I appreciate that the government are making some attempts to address ‘equal pay’ and I am pleased to see that the government plan to introduce CEO / Employee pay gap reporting see People Management article written by Dawn Lewis but I fear the workers on the ground are still left living in poverty whilst the government are too afraid to tackle the real issue – that is a ridiculously low minimum / living wage.  It is modern day slavery at it’s very best, and most concealed.

Employers are kidding themselves that the wages they are paying are acceptable, and that it is okay for their staff to live in poverty whilst they enjoy living in the top 10%.  Please! What is wrong with us? How is this acceptable? How has this happened?  Who calculates the living wage? Shame on you.  Is this a presumption that two people share the bills? A very historic assumption.  Is this genuine ignorance of today’s living costs? An average minimum of £1k per month on rent and bills (outside of London), for a single person.  With a minimum wage of £7.83 for age 25 and over, your average ‘hard-working’ adult, working a 40 hour week (9-5 – Man Made Manslaughter – see my earlier blog post) is bringing in £1357 before deductions, so take home pay is on average around £1,100 on a good month.  There simply is not enough money to cover outgoings, food and travel costs and so people are living on credit and in a desperate cycle to break free from the poverty.

It is clear that many are shouting out about this issue, but it is not being properly addressed, and certainly not quick enough, this needs to change and it needs to change very very quickly.  That brings me to talk about why people are choosing the ‘option’ of entrepreneurism, why we have so many new small businesses. I use the word ‘option’ very loosely, as actually I believe this to be a desperate measure to escape the trap that is our current work culture.  Now I have already highlighted my earlier 9-5 blog above, this is not new news – Dolly Parton sang about it in 1980!  Listen to the words!

What we have is a ‘desperate’ situation, now I really do not believe that anybody ‘wants’ to live on benefits.  It is the most degrading, humiliating situation to be in and one aspect of this was beautifully depicted in the recent movie I Daniel Blake.  I could personally relate to some of the scenes in this movie.  As a proud working woman who barely took a day off in 20 years, to then suddenly go from being a home-owner career girl to a single mum in receipt of benefits was such a shock.  I had no idea what tax credits were in my early 30’s, and the brief six months I turned to Income Support following the end of my maternity leave were soul destroying.  Now whilst I was very grateful that my daughter wasn’t torn from my arms as it was for my grandparents generation, to be sanctioned for borrowing £20 from my mum and not declaring it and having my bank statements scrutinised like some sort or criminal is something I will never forget.  To lose the freedom of your own income and to have people look at you like you are sponging scum despite 20 years contributions is something I do not believe anybody would choose.  My point?

Well my point is that it does not pay to work when wages are as low as benefits.  Living on benefits is seriously tight, it is living in poverty and there is no money for luxuries, and so it ‘does’ pay to work, for the sense of wellbeing it gives you and the opportunity to increase that income, but the income is rarely increased, only freedom is lost, childcare costs are added from 3pm if you are a parent and transport costs and of course the holiday period.  So many people are turning to being self-employed and turning into entrepreneurs because it is a desperate measure.  A desperate measure to escape the 9-5 and to have the chance to earn more than £10 an hour.  (which is still too low!).  All of these problems are man-made (or as somebody pointed out to me the other day ‘person-made – sorry – to PC for me, again we are allowing ourselves to be sheep trained).  We are human beings and we need to stop greed at the top.  We need fair pay, and fair hours.  With better pay, working in school hours can be a ‘choice’ living without luxuries can be a ‘choice’, a choice to pick up your children and give-up take-outs.

I appreciate that certain professions offer a good wage, and there are brilliant opportunities to re-train to work in a higher paid job, and there will always be a difference in income, but the difference is too grand.  The bottom line should not be poverty.  Top 10% and bottom 10% is not a fair way to divide the hard workers in this country.  I still hear people complain that ‘anybody’ can go to university now, these people are oblivious to their own privileges.  Everybody deserves the chance to be the very best they can be.

Wellbeing will seriously increase when these changes are made.  NHS costs will decrease, road accidents will decrease, ill health will decrease, crime will reduce (yes, much crime is fuelled by anger and need for money) .  Benefit claimants will decrease.  If you cannot see that I urge you to dig deep.  I have recently discovered the Joseph Rowntree Foundation – this tag links to an article entitled ‘Almost a quarter of people in Wales are trapped in poverty’.  When I see the articles and hard work of the JRF, and Shelter, and such charities I wonder, why isn’t anything changing? It is so obvious.  Pay is too low.  Pay is too low.  Come-on Government, look, the pay is too low.  You have been chosen to govern the country to look after society, and look what is happening under your power, on your watch.   You can change this.  Not in 20 years, not in 10.  Right now.  Don’t worry about ‘where the money will come from’ worry about where money will be saved.  For a start people will not need to top up their wages with HB or TC,  NHS will save money on drugs (a much bigger outlay than wages), and people will want to work if they can pick up their kids and be paid a wage in line with inflation.

I have another beef.  the lottery, I have mentioned it before.  If you think that people are gambling responsibly you are deluded.  Most people are gambling out of sheer desperation to escape poverty.  The government are getting greedy.  People are being tricked into funding lottery funded projects because they are desperate to win some money.  Now I know that the lottery supports some really good causes, but you ask people if they would donate to these causes if there wasn’t a chance to win, probably not – not because they are selfish, or don’t care, but because they are living in poverty and cannot afford to support other causes.  It is all too greedy.  When it was £1 a week that was a reasonable amount for people to gamble, that was ‘responsible’, but now it is most nights, £2.50 per go sometimes, people have the same numbers they are afraid of missing and consequently are paying at least £50 per month – that they cannot afford out of their income, because they are desperate.  You have allowed this to happen Gov.  not feeling very proud right now.

I conclude.  People are not really lazy, they want to work, working can be fun, being around people is healthy, having a steady wage is lovely, but entrepreneurism seems to be the only hope at the moment to escape poverty and achieve work-life balance, but hope is what it is, again the stats speak for themselves that this is not an easy option, it is a desperate option, because the wages are not properly governed.

As a country we have a collective responsibility to make some significant changes, and this must be addressed by our government, who we trust and nominate to take care of our wellbeing as a society.  Workers will not challenge the wage offered to them, how can they? They will fear losing the job altogether, and where we accept this income we make a rod for our own backs, but what choice do we have when we are powerless to do anything about it?  We need to make the change happen higher up the ladder, we need protection, help, support, we need to be looked after as members of society, we are happy to work, but unless the house prices are going to decrease 400% and bills equally, the wage needs to inflate, and it’s the job of the country’s leaders to make that happen.

I would like to make a few additional points:

Rich House Poor House is a lovely documentary that sensitively highlights the wage divide.  Please watch it whatever your status.

Can’t pay we’ll take it away – I’m not offering a link this one.  It disgusts me how we are filming people at their lowest, these people are in genuine despair and it is being used as entertainment.  We are behaving like animals not helping them.  If you think they choose not to pay you are ignorant, for that you can be forgiven, but you need to understand the reality by watching Rich House Poor House.

If you are looking at setting up a business but are in poverty charities such as Fredericks Foundation may be able to help you.

It is not okay to spend a lifetime renting.  A mortgage would only last 20-40 years.  When you rent you never get that light at the end of the tunnel and never lose that overhead.   See my earlier rental blog here

Empty properties need filling.  Flats should be a lifestyle choice or stop gap in your twenties whilst having enough disposable income to save.

I firmly believe that there would be a lot less hatred for immigration if people weren’t living in poverty and feeling threatened and equally obesity would decline if people had the finances and the time to eat properly and be more active.

There are so many fundamental errors with our way of thinking, our system, we cannot rely on the lottery to bail us out, we have a collective responsibility to make things change, if you are struggling you need to shout louder, and if you are a wealthy employer you need to ask if a portion of your wealth is blood money?  And if you are justifying it because you are a sheep?

Sharing with love not hate, as always.

I apologise for typos, it’s late and I’m not reading this long blog before I post it! Feel free to point out spelling & grammar and I’ll tweak later!   Ta.

Pay Slip 1991

 

Bias in the Tenant Market – HB or Pets? No thank you.

I never try to find things to write about in my blogs, I simply post when I am inspired or triggered to post about something I already feel strongly about.

I had a lovely trigger this morning, where a social media post asked a very simple yet desperate question… ‘Does anyone know of any 3 bed houses to rent in Monmouth or surrounding villages that will accept housing benefit please?’

I felt her pain immediately and felt inspired to comment, to re-assure her that she would find somewhere.

Now I have been a homeowner, a landlady, a tenant as part of a married couple, an estate agent, and more recently, a single-mum in receipt of housing benefit without a guarantor, and believe me, the latter is the most hellish of them all (and karma giving me a big slap on the bum!).  I have had to fight myself to prove my worth and I know how hard it is.

Now I have been well aware for a very long time that there is bias / discrimination against people who fall under a certain category.  A literal ban that does not take any individual circumstances, history, or future into account and it is quite simply wrong in this day and age.  As a younger woman I did have preconceptions about who was who and what their worthiness was, and of that I have no choice but to forgive myself, but now I must redeem myself and try to help others.

Equally it is extremely hard to enjoy your private life / your home / and enjoy pets as part of your private life, if you are tenant.  Now my personal feelings are, and always have been, that every person should enjoy the same rights and quality of life if they wish to have pets in their family.  I have witnessed issues faced by landlords, damage, urine, fleas, and these issues have been awful, but they are very much the minority, and I am afraid I have a black and white view that if you are in the business of building your property portfolio at the expense of others then this should be part of the small risk.

Most tenants with pets are ‘immaculate’, and on regular property visits it would quite often be the case that HB tenants with pets were cleaner and in better timing with their rent than the stereotypical perfect tidy salary 2.4, or just 2.

Nowadays a huge percentage of the population rely on credit to get them by each month (if you are a follower of my blogs you will know that I do not do stats – that’s your homework!).  This is no different for those whichever ‘class’ they fall under, we just still keep a stiff upper lip about it.  Equality is heavily preached in this country, but in practice the reality is quite the opposite.

Equally the right to a private life and enjoyment of pets is something that seriously needs addressing, people are literally having a lesser quality of life because of the private rental market.  The private rental market is blooming because house prices have risen inconsistently with inflation.  From buying a house from £7,000, to £45,000 to £200,000 is literally insane, and it needs addressing.

I have been a fly on the wall where hard-working pensioners, with beloved pets, have found it extremely hard to find a rental property, despite a 100% hard working career and immaculate cleanliness. I have witnessed so many painful stories of discrimination and it must stop.  Again we are rewarding the rich and penalising the poor (or at least disadvantaged)  (see my earlier post).

With respect to the Housing Benefit argument.  I understand that there is a percentage of claimants who are HB as a lifestyle / career choice and I can see why this would be upsetting to many, but I urge you to open your mind to the fact that many who need to claim HB do so for a short period in their lives, more than likely 20 years of contributions have preceded the need to claim and 25 / 30 years will proceed it.

The first 20 years of my own adult working life I was earning in the region of £14,000 and I never complained about how my contributions were spent, I understood that we all looked after each other.  I was aware that people earning significantly more than I were entitled to approx. £20 per week child benefit but this was never an issue, but as soon as I became a mum in need of a little recoup (to top up the wage, allowing me to be a hands on mum) I was amazed how many people re-categorised me and asked ‘why should we pay for your kid’.  Darling my need is short term and my contributions will be paying towards your healthcare at some point and I will not judge you for your lifestyle choices leading up to it.

Another issue we face in England and Wales is that of distant renting.  In Scotland you can secure a rental property on-line, down here we can ‘buy’ a property on-line, and secure a rental property on-line, but securing a AST is a big no-no, and that is quite unfeasible for many that relocate to the area.

There are so many issues surrounding tenancies, another being agency fees, they are ridiculous, the most successful agent I know in the region charges £60, and that’s it, there is absolutely no need to charge £100 / £200, remember I have administered it.  The rental income comes from the initial fee to the landlord (normally 75% first months rent) and the management fees (normally 10/11% per month).  Please can we stop charging these poor people a fortune, to run a couple of references and a credit check.

I may elaborate on here at a later date, but for now, please be pro-active in implementing these much needed changes to this awful discrimination that is so prominent in so called modern society.