My luxury item would have to be a laptop with internet connection – how else would I know what I could eat and how to build a shelter etc.! I’d need it for SURVIVAL, and I’d start up a desert island blog of course… charting my progress and all that jazz! 😉 I hope you’d follow it!? 😉
>I decided to write this blog posting, because of several conversations on Facebook and Twitter yesterday and today, and a Skype conversation between Livi and myself today about it all.
I’m talking about the new plans for the Child Benefit system here in the UK. It seems everyone has an opinion on the matter, and I am certainly no different!
Please have a look at this BBC News link if you can, and you’ll see what I’m talking about (if you’ve been living on another universe and not heard of it!) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11470983.
At the moment, here in the UK, ALL families receive £20.30 a week for the oldest child then £13.40 for all other subsequent children. However, new plans by the Government are that from 2013 these benefits will be taken away from any family where one parent is earning about £44,000 or more a year.
This causes some issues on fairness though, as a single parent earning, for example £43,500 a year will get to keep their child benefit, whilst a double parent family with one parent earning £40,000 and the other £43,000 meaning a household income of £83,000 a year will also get to keep their child benefit. This is despite the fact that a single parent family earning that amount wouldn’t get to keep theirs! Hardly seems a fair system!
I am actually in agreement that the plans to revolutionise the child benefit system is a great idea to save this country money it so desperately needs to. What I do not agree with however is that it is choosing to discriminate against people depending on whether they’re in a joint parenting family, or a single parenting family.
I myself am a single parent, and I don’t earn anywhere near the £44,000 sort of threshold. I am just stating that here, so that I do not get comments stating that I must get affected by the changes personally, because, going by what they are stating right now – I won’t be affected.
The Government should be making this new Child Benefit system based on household income – not each parents income. If a family is getting £83,000 in their family pot each year then they can definately afford not to receive child benefit! Isn’t that the point in what they’re saying to us? That they want a Robin Hood sort of mantra? Take from those who can afford it…. then why are they going to give it to a household taking in £83,000 a year and not to a household taking in £44,000 – just because they’ve only one parent? That is just discrimination to the core in my opinion!
If the Government were to make the system based on household income, I would be in full agreement with their decision. I earn much less than the £44,000 cut off point, and even as a single parent family, I could live without the child benefit I receive. Earning £44,000 a year is a lot of money!! However, if they did change it to be on household income, I would probably agree it could be a bit higher still… this cut off point.
Of course there will be outroar – change always brings outroar, but times have changed… we need to move with the times and get this country back on track. Changes are vital. We must make savings and we must all realise this. There’s cuts happening all over… because we have to make them – not because the Government just want to rake in the cash. We need the money.
I’m all for the Robin Hood Mantra… when I see any reforms that state that those earning the mega high bucks will pay more tax/lose benefits etc, then I am all for it. These households do not need child benefits as much as other households do, and they can afford to pay more tax than others can – so they should make these sacrifices. They’d still have their fancy houses and cars – and other familys may then be able to afford clothing for their children and hell, maybe even a rust-bucket of a car to help out in family life. Yes, this is an extreme I’m assuming here, but you get what I’m getting at here…
There’s families out there earning a LOT of money and hell, they’ve worked hard for it, and made sacrifies etc., and yes they’re rewarded with more pay for it, however I’ll go back to what I’ve said earlier – times have changed. We need to move with the times! Just because, for example, people years ago knew that putting in 80 hour weeks at work and then more at home, could mean they could climb their ladders at work and get mega bucks and live a fantastic lifestyle etc., doesn’t mean we should never get to tax them more just because back then – the rewards were more! Change happens people…
Change is happening everywhere you look.
This is just another example of change within our country. I’m a nurse within the NHS and there’s changes happening in my work too. They’re even re-jigging our shift working patterns to make it more streamlined to get the best out of the staff they have, as there’s a hiring freeze… everyone is looking to save money, including the NHS of course! There’s outcry there too… a lot of “how DARE they change my shifts! I’ve had weekends off for 20 years…!” However changes need to be made. There just isn’t enough money coming into the NHS budget as there used to be, and they’ve got to look at saving money however they can. Just because someone has not worked weekends in 20 years, doesn’t mean they can’t make you do weekends now. People need to stop all this endless moaning – it won’t change anything! Do you really think if you stomp your feet enough change won’t happen around you? It seems a lot of people are in this way of thinking. Certainly at my work, we are getting input into the new shift patterns and rotas, even getting to make some ourselves and make suggestions etc. These moaners – they can either give their feedback and opinions to make a workable shift pattern and rota, with give and take from most involved, or just don’t bother and moan instead, and then moan some more when the change does happen!
We, as a country, need to make savings! It’s not going to make everyone happy – change never does.
However, you can’t take away money from those in poverty or lesser off… they need all of their smaller incomes more than those with large incomes need all of theirs.
If I was lucky enough to be in a job earning £44,000 a year, they could gladly take away my child benefit! It’d not need it would I? It wouldn’t mean my child wouldn’t get a new school uniform that year, or that he’d not have food on the table at home – but it just might to those on low incomes. I can’t see why those on high incomes can even justify moaning about giving a bit more to the country – would they rather they took it from a poor family? Would they rather the NHS, police force, fire services etc., get their budgets slashed even more than they already have? Would they rather the NHS was disbanded and made private sector and have to pay out money for insurance, and the poor people again suffer because they can’t afford it? I just don’t understand….
Everyone needs to do their bit to turn this country around. You may not like all the changes… but they’re going to happen. However the Government needs to make changes such as this child benefit one less discriminating – this does seem to be the main issue with the changes regarding child benefit. I’d hope that if they made it based on household income there wouldn’t be as much outcry as there is right now…
Listen to your people, new Government – if you want to remain in power.
Inspired by Josie over at Sleep is for the Weak’s awesome Writing Workshop – and because I’ve been saying I’ll blog about what I did this Summer (since it happened!); here is a blog about the unusual thing I did during this Summer 2010!
My son and I went to go visit someone I met through Twitter! That person was the lovely Livi, who has her own blog at Livi’s Little Bubble.
I’d been following Livi for quite a while on Twitter, and she following me, and we Tweeted now and then… However as can happen on Twitter, you can end up finding someone you just tweet all the damn time, and Livi ended up becoming one of my most tweeted people for about the 6 months or so before we arranged to meet up.
We not only tweeted, but we chatted via Skype too, and via email and texts. I’d tell her things that worried/upset me/issues I had going on in my life, and she’d tell me hers… and at one point I was texting her in the middle of the night, whilst I was on nightshift with worries about something someone had tweeted out. That’s what you call friendship I guess! You look out for each other, and for those they care for.
I think the whole meeting up started with “it’ll never happen but wow it’d be cool to meet up but we live SO far apart” sorta tweets etc… the kind of “it would be SO AWESOME to be able to meet up….” tweets. You see, I live up in the Highlands of Scotland – hundreds of miles at least, from most bloggers (as far as I know), and Livi lives down Cheshire. Not exactly a jumping on a bus to visit kind of possibility.
However I soon found that I had a weeks holiday off work during the school holidays, and no plans. My boyfriend and my best friend both working rubbishy shifts for that week, and I had my 6 year old son full-time during that week with nothing to do! I can’t even remember who stated first that we should go down to Cheshire to visit Livi! I have a memory much like Dory from Finding Nemo….
Soon the plans took forth and multiplied – thanks to Livi and her amazing organisational skills! She sent D and I some leaflets of things that were within travelling distance to where she lived, and asked what we’d like to do. It was also arranged that we would stay at Livi’s house! I also asked if Thomas Land (at Drayton Manor) were achievable from her house, and it turned out it was! D’s had been asking me to go there for YEARS as a Thomas-fanatic little boy.
Well in July this year D and I went down to visit Livi. It took 3 different trains to get there, and about 8 hours, but the journey wasn’t too bad! D had his excitement of being on trains and his Nintendo DS keeping him occupied, and me – my iPhone, tweeting, facebooking and reading to keep me occupied!
When I met Livi, it struck me, like all folk I’ve met after getting to know them online first, how she was so much like I expected her to be – except the accent. I’m rubbish at accents!
Whilst down visiting Livi, we went to Chester and walked around the famous walled city, and even Daniel didn’t moan about the long walk and he really enjoyed it! We also visited Chester zoo another day, which is a fantastic zoo! We were graced with good weather too on the day we went to the zoo, so really couldn’t asked for a better day for it. Daniel loved the zoo too, especially the giraffes which are his favourite animal.
One day we spent at Alton Towers! I went on all the Rollercoasters pretty much! Livi doesn’t like them, so she was on childminding and bagminding duties, though she didn’t mind! I felt a bit bad leaving them for ages at a time – the queues were mental! Even if you bought the express tickets you sometimes still waited up to half an hour for a ride! Rip off really… Would’ve been very easy to spend two days at Alton Towers, and it would’ve been less rushed, but we pretty much did what we wanted to do whilst we were there. Daniel LOVED the kiddy area, and also HEX. Livi went on this with us too… we were unsure what kinda ride it was, and it certainly wasn’t what we expected! Whilst we were in the queue – we thought it would have been some time of haunted house! It wasn’t Livi’s cup of tea…. lol, but Daniel LOVED it. I wasn’t all that fussed with it, and found it a bit on the tame side for me *winks* – sorry Livi hehe!!
Another day we went to Drayton Manor – for Thomas Land. For Daniel this was “his day” and let him take the charge in what he wanted to do… and he loved every SECOND of it. I’d thoroughly recommend Thomas Land to any Thomas obsessed child! He was in AWE! Though I’d have loved to taken him last year I guess, as he clicked that some things weren’t “real” and I had to ask him to be quiet, as he was saying things out loud in front of the younger children lol! It was amazing to be able to take him to Thomas Land… I’ve got the most amazing video, with cracking facial expressions of him on the Rosie train (real train ride)…. totally in his element!
The funniest thing about Thomas Land though, was the Troublesome Trucks rollercoaster… Livi agreed to come on it – it was a kiddy one after all! However, I was sitting there expecting it to be a breeze after the big ‘coasters at Alton Towers and was NOT expecting it to be a bit twisty and thrill ride! The on-ride camera photo was so hillarious I just HAD to buy a copy for us and for Livi… I look PETRIFIED whilst my son and Livi look thrilled!
After Thomas Land, we went out to Drayton Manor and went on yet more rides that D was able to go on, including the river rapids with Livi. It was a cracking day full of smiles by all. It was even more special, as in the past month my son has gotten over his Thomas stage… even letting me pack up all his trains and track. I’m so grateful to Livi for assisting me with giving D something that he’s dreamed of all his life pretty much, before it was too late.
On our last day we went for a walk around Livi’s small town in all it’s prettiness! I really did fall in love with red bricked houses/buildings more than I already was whilst down England – and Tudor buildings! SO gorgeous! We also stopped off by the charity shop Hope House, that Livi volunteers at!
At night times, Livi and I would drink some wine… tweet… watch Big Brother… wish John James and Josie to GET IT ON in Big Brother… talk… Facebook… share photos… edit pics… and she introduced me to Sex and the City! Oh yes… I was a Sex and the City virgin til my trip down to Livi’s!
It was a truly awesome break away! Livi was amazing with D too – a true natural!
Before I went on the trip, when telling some folk at work about it I got a lot of criticism. One student nurse even raised her voice and told me I was a bad Mother and Livi could be a paedophile! However, it’s not my first time I’ve met folk from online… or stayed in their houses. It didn’t really bother me, this criticism or talking behind my back that I’m sure would’ve went on – if it did I’d have kept my mouth shut, or pretended that I already knew Livi “in person”. Folk who don’t blog/tweet/IM or whatever… they just will never get it. My mother never did either, though she didn’t mind me doing it, and even went on webcam with me once years ago (about 11 years ago when I still lived at home) with a gal I chat to in Amsterdam! However since my Mum re-married a guy who speaks to folk on the Playstation 3 gaming malarky, she and him went on a meet up to go and stay in folk he played games with online – in their house!! You just gotta be doing it to understand… and I perfectly understand that.
So meeting Livi wasn’t the first time I’ve met someone from online, but it was the first time I took my wee boy along, and it was the first time it was an actual holiday – doing holiday type things together! It won’t be the last time I meet up with people online either… it’s a great way to meet new people, especially those who have problems meeting folk “in real life” for whatever reason.
So I guess I really did have quite an unusual Summer holiday! Hopefully next year Livi will have her quite unusual Summer holiday up here in Inverness, in the Scottish Highlands – with D and I! We’d be glad to have her up here anytime. Friend for life. Love you Livi.
Here’s just a FEW pics of our time down there…