An open letter to Mr. Cameron

Today I was told a decision had been made on my application for Job Seekers Allowance. Apparently,  I am “not eligible” for job seekers allowance, even though I am not working at present, and I am looking for work  I was told  I can’t get income based JSA because my husband earns a few hundred pounds a year over the threshold.  I cannot get contributions-based JSA either because my Class 2 contributions from self-employment “are not included” and prior to that I was living off a tax-free university research grant since Oct 2007.

I can’t get any tax credits because I’m not working at the moment.

I can’t get any housing benefit cos we’ve got a mortgage.We would love to sell our house and move to a less economically deprived area with more opportunities, but due to the new policies of lenders demanding a deposit of at least 10%, no one can afford to buy our house. Even if we do find a buyer, we are very very close to being in negative equity now anyway.

I can’t get a job because the few jobs that are available are all minimum wage which won’t cover the costs of putting my 18-month old daughter in childcare. Even my “jobs advisor” admitted that there are few opportunities in this area at the moment. This is the grim North-East, Mr Cameron, I feel I have to remind you of this area’s existence. Life does exist outside the M25, but it is telling that there are virtually no Conservative MPs here. I am fairly confident that neither you nor your government have any idea of what life is like here.

So, apparently my husband is supposed to support himself, me, our daughter, our mortgage and all our various debts out of his (public sector) salary, AND pay tax which goes to support everyone else in that jobs centre EXCEPT his wife.

For my part, I have only ever signed on the dole for three weeks before, in the last ten years. I worked pretty much the entire time I was at university in Durham, I once worked three jobs at once on top of my MA degree, I STILL couldn’t find a good job after that so I went back to do a PhD. After that, there are now even fewer jobs than there were before i started it, so I started my own business. I worked over 50 hours a week, paid myself nothing for a year and eventually had to give it up because I could no longer live off thin air. I have a BA, an MA and a PhD. I speak another language fluently. And I have three years experience setting up and running my own business. I am NOT unemployable, nor am I lazy, stupid or a scrounger.

As the spouse of a millionairess and leader of the party which did the least badly in the last election – (I cannot give you credit for actually winning and being elected – you didn’t and you weren’t), – I have to accept that you represent me and as such, you should be able to advise me on this situation. What exactly am I supposed to do? And what else I could have done differently to make myself more eligible for help?

This is just yet another example of your government’s unthinking ineptitude, and your apparent total disregard to how your policies actually affect ordinary people. As is evident if you bother to read the rest of this blog. I have applied for a job in Canada and we are doing everything we can to move over there. I honestly loathe this country now, I do not feel I can bring my daughter up in the UK with such gross inequality, such a laughable failure for a social services system and the shame of having you and your government as our alledged representatives.

I look forward to your response.

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5 thoughts on “An open letter to Mr. Cameron

  1. Bel,
    This has been my situation EXACTLY throughout this year. That is why, despite having a PhD and an academic book just released through a publisher, I have been working a zero hours contract for minimum wage on ferry boats. My partner is expected to keep us on his part-time salary. Despite paying taxes and NI since I was 16, I have NEVER once been successful in getting benefits. The welfare state died a long time ago, and I too, hate my country. The state is a shame. I whole-heartedly identify and agree with your letter. Please, please send it to The Guardian, Independent, ToryGraph and Times!

    1. thanks hon, I think I might pass it on to the press, especially if I get any more comments like yours on here. I don’t think we are alone by a long way. I’ve sent it to our local (labour) MP already. Strangely, (!) no reply from her as yet!

  2. Agreed! Send it to the lock and national press. Hell, send it direct to No. 10!

    How long ago did you send it to MP Chapman?
    She’s the type who usually makes a meal tout of this kinda stuff…

    1. Only sent it (via a link on Twitter) last night, cos I only found out yesterday afternoon! She will just use it to show how useless the Tories are – they are, but so are Labour! I think I’ll do a few edits then post it to No. 10 but I doubt our glorious leader will ever read it. National press may achieve more in the long run!

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