# 76 (2013) How Much Is Enough?
Going back into the job market after a four year absence (three years of Uni plus one year of running my own business full time) it’s easy to see why your average Joe in full time employment is struggling to make ends meet. Even living in a house share with fairly basic outlays I still have to factor in an additional £287 a month to cover tax and national insurance contributions to leave me just enough money to live on.
This means I still have to find a job that pays me over £1000 a month in order to survive. My second trade before I decided to go to Uni as a mature student was in administration. I spent years as a PA in London and the surrounding counties mostly in the temping market. Then, it was a lucrative business and often lead to good secure full time jobs. But things have changed a lot and temping just scrapes minimum wage these days. Temps aren’t trusted as they used to be and I believe this may have something to do with the screening processes at agencies and the lax attitude of some staff. Attitudes that were few and far between when I was working in London. Companies now, seem to presume you’re temping because you’re not much good, otherwise you’d have a full time job.
I genuinely cannot work out how people with financial commitments like mortgages, children and debts, manage to survive at all. Maybe they don’t. Maybe that’s why foodbanks are so essential these days. There are plenty of employed people using them. Perhaps we’re all living hand to mouth to a certain extent – living in fear of redundancy and hoping things will change.
It’s changed a lot from when I was last employed and that wasn’t all that long ago. Tax was 17.5% back then. Now it’s 20%. The old rate would have saved me £22.38 a month. That may not sound like much of a saving but over the course of a year that’s about £268. For a couple that’s a holiday or home improvement, or tax and an MOT on a car.
Where does it end? Will tax go up again next year? Will the price of food continue to rise? Will we all just have to get rid of cars, mobile phones, turn off the central heating? The knock on effect of all these things on our economy is catastrophic and in turn makes the little man have to pull in the purse strings another notch.
What’s the breaking point? When do we finally say enough is enough, we cannot live like this any more. It strikes me there’s probably a way to go yet and more awful stories of how people are struggling will come out. It’s going to get messier and more brutal.
And for those of you lucky enough to have no idea what I’m talking about, I hope you never have to.
|Last October food bank numbers reached record levels (source)|