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Can You Live off This Amount?

Written By On 04/04/2013

David Bennett, a 51-year-old market trader appeared on Today Programme earlier this week. Mr Bennett commented on the amount that the Government pays him for weekly tax credits which can vary between £37 and £50. He receives this to supplement the income he received last year which accumulated to £2,700. He says that his housing benefit has now been reduced to £57 each week and he cannot manage so has needed to loan money to stay afloat. He has £53 a week to live on after he pays all his overheads.

Iain Duncan Smith, Work and Pensions Secretary along with chancellor George Osborne said how the Coalition wish to 'restore the original values of the welfare state'. Mr Duncan Smith said

The reality is what we are trying to make certain is that the amount of money that taxpayers pay sees some value at the end of it in terms of people being supported. There’s been a huge amount of money which, in the course of the welfare system now, has absolutely been wasted.

He added that welfare costs continue to escalate and benefits payouts will be reduced for people that are old enough to work. But the present outlook is for tax credits and benefits to keep growing by billions of pounds over the next few years.

At the moment a person looking for work may receive up to £56.25 per week from the age of 16 to 24, and somebody older £71.00 through the government's job seekers' allowance. Local jobcentres are also participating in a scheme that helps the most needy with short term loan advances.

The BBC then asked the Tory MP if he could live off £53.00 per week and he replied "If I had to, I would." This would mean a massive 97% pay cut for the minister who is on a salary of £134,565 per annum currently.

This has sparked uproar and 400,000 people so far, have signed a petition on the internet over the last few days asking him to do just that! They believe that this would fit very well with the Conservative's motto that "We are all in this together."

You can sign at change.org if you wish to add your name to the petition.

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