After taking a look through some of the debate videos Facebook had to offer us the other day, I came across an incredibly interesting comment made by Dominic Raab.
He suggested that people who used Food Banks might have a ‘cashflow’ problem.
Obviously, there was a lot of outrage, and I could have gone on about it on my Facebook page but I decided that seeing as I’m fortunate enough to live with a friend who charges me far less rent than she should do I am not one of those people living on the poverty line.
I DID just want to take a minute to point out that Yes. Yes we DO have a cashflow problem. You want to see the maths? Okay.
Trying to work out the costings for an ‘average’ person isn’t easy, but for arguments sake I’ve gone to Right Move, found the cheapest currently available ROOM in a house share.
So we’re looking at £217 per month. Great! Well, that’s cheap! It’s bills included too, so there’s no need to worry about that. Will the council pay that much? Let’s see. £217 for twelve months divided by 52. That’s £50 a week, and thankfully, the local government are definitely going to give you that much to cover it.
So, that’s it right?
Ah, not quite. Let’s take another look at the fees listed here…
Hold on, hold on. What am I reading here?
Single occupancy from £85 per week
So actually you’re going to charge me £85 because I don’t have someone to share with? Here’s the sad news, guys. Suddenly we’re going to have an issue with the housing benefit, aren’t we?
What’s the Local Housing Allowance in Lincoln anyway?
Well, I suppose – when you include the fact that the bills are all included I suppose I probably would have to use some of the benefits I get from Job Seeker’s Allowance toward the rent!
Job Seekers get £79.10 a week, so I now have £53 to live on for the week.
I mean, that is of course assuming that I already LIVE in this house share, because if I don’t, I really don’t fancy those fees. Well. Recurring fees. Renewal of tenancy? Is this a 6 month or a 12 month contract? Does it roll? Let’s say for the sake of this post that I have a 12 month contract – I need to keep back £5 a week to be able to afford the £60 Renewal Fee.
So now I have £48 a week to live on.
Okay, but I also have a pet. Why do I have a pet? Well, to be honest I sometimes feel like I need him. There are plenty of studies that suggest that pets are great for people with mental health related problems and I know he’s been amazing for me so I’m factoring this in too.
Figaro is insured. Of course he is! What kind of irresponsible pet owner would I be if I didn’t ensure that I had something to fall back on in case he got really sick? He’s not just my pet – he’s a member of my family. It’s me & Fig now. Anyway, okay – how much are you paying for that, Ollie dearest? £10.39 a month? Well, it’s only £2.39 a week.
Yeah, but he’s also got Pet Plan. You know. I can’t really afford the cost of vaccinations and medications and health checks. That’s £14.50 a month. It’s only £3.34 a week. No big deal!!
Okay, but what does he eat? Well, he is rather partial to wet food – so I try, when I can, to but Felix when it’s on offer. Usually… I can get 44 packs for about £10. He has one pack a day, which is 22p, times by 7 is £1.54 but he also has dry food! Which is a little more expensive because the little bugger is a rescue he likes Royal Canin, but I can get it pretty cheap online and it lasts 130. So, I’ll buy a bag of 10kg which is £44.19 and it lasts 130 days which averages out at about 33p a day. Another £2.31 a week.
The cat costs me just under a tenner a week. £9.58 if we’re going to be picky.
Which means that I now have £38.42 left.
At the moment, I’m volunteering three times a week at a local community centre. Generally, I get a lift into town once a week, but other than that I get the bus twice a week. A single into town is £2.30, which means I spend £4.60 on bus fares. No, I don’t get the bus back I WALK. Miracle of miracles.
I also pay £10 a month to the peer support group I go to.
Yeah, I could probably live on that much. As long as I never eat take away, never want new clothes, shoes, books, dvds, or general entertainment. As long as my friends don’t mind me not buying them cards or presents for any occasion – at least I have an excuse if I forget!
Did I mention that this is as long as I’m already living in that shared house? Otherwise I have to find £400 from somewhere.