Recently I have rediscovered the displeasure of being a hunter seeking a living in the wilderness of the job market. It’s rough out here. There be monsters (a lack of opportunities). But thank god I have been paying my taxes and have the government to protect me in these hard times. Or so I thought. I think Mr Cameron may have been reading through some of my older blog posts.
As I had no other money coming in, I figured it was best to sign on while I hunted for a job to prevent my savings from spiralling forever downwards. I went through the whole process: forms, advisor meetings, more forms, another advisor meeting, then finally I was able to sign on.
Lets spin forward a couple of weeks when I got a letter telling me I would not be receiving any housing benefits or council tax contributions. Their reasoning? I have been too responsible saving up money so that I can pay off my student loan. Thanks to the government and the stagnant economy, I have not yet had a job that pays enough to actually make student loan payments from my wage packet. Yet still, I have been earning and saving responsibly so I can clear off my debt, which I wouldn’t even have had I gone to university in another country. But this, as it turns out, was a ridiculous thing to do. The government doesn’t want you to be smart with your money.
At least I will have the job seekers allowance to slow down the drain on my bank account. Or do I? I haven’t been paid a penny yet. I have signed on and done my job searching, sending off countless applications. So I have held up my end of the deal. I have even found some temp work meaning I have to sign off. Yet my bank account still longs for some job seekers payments like I long for pizza on a Friday night.
No one at the job centre seems to be able to help me. They tell me to call benefit enquiries. When I went in for my first advisor meeting, I saw a man there who was clearly very badly off and struggling to get by. This man was being closely watched by security as he was flipping out. He was flipping out because he was being told that he had to call benefit enquiries to sort out his claim.
At the time, I thought he was being a bit of a loon. In a way he was. But after spending 30 minutes on hold trying to reach benefit enquiries to find out why they haven’t paid me anything, I could sympathize. If anything, I was becoming a bit of a loon myself. After being left on hold for 30 minutes on my mobile, I did a little calculation. After coming to the realization I had just paid £15 for the pleasure of listening to the same 20 second long hold music on a loop, I hung up.
I was left with one conclusion. Our government are scam artists. Outstanding scam artists. I believe someone on Hustle had a similar scam set up. Considering I have been careful with my money and generally lucky in life, this call charge was an annoyance. Now think about this man who was struggling to get enough money together to pay rent. Can this man afford to spend £15 waiting on hold? Of course he can’t, neither can a vast number of people in his situation. And these people are the ones who depend on the government’s support the most.
I assume the government plans to cut a further £10 billion from the welfare budget will be made up from the vast profits made from their phone lines. I can pretty much guarantee that many people have ended up homeless thanks to our fine government’s ineptitude.
I have never been so happy to be a taxpayer.