Have you ever...
- Worked solidly for a month, get to the day all of your bills and direct debits are due to go out of the bank and felt a wave of relief when you have made it with less than £5 left until you receive your next child benefit. This will pay for a weekly shop - ish.
- Felt the dread when your child brings home a school trip letter, knowing that if you say Yes then you will be robbing Peter to pay Paul for a couple of months, sweating to make sure your child doesn't miss out. You know for sure that the class bully will take great delight in having a go at the kids who can't afford to make the trip.
- Been called by school AGAIN and asked to come in straight away as your disabled child with special needs is having a meltdown and you have to drop everything to get there NOW! No employer will put up with this for school age children and no childminder/nursery wants to look after your disabled child on a 1-1 basis as it requires specialist staff with specialist skills at vast expense. Therefore the world of work is not an option and you are left claiming £59 pw Carers Allowance as your "work choices" do not exist.
- Wondered how you are going to feed the family when there are 3 days left in the month or week before you get any more money and the fridge is bare? Have you ever raided down the back of the sofa looking for any 50ps or £1 coins that may have escaped because you know that will pay for a few rounds of beans on toast.
- Sent your child or children to school with no dinner money as being a member of the working poor you cannot gain access to free school meals but likewise can't afford packed lunches or dinner money and give your child(ren) the excuse to say "It's ok I never get hungry at lunch time" if challenged by a teacher as to why they are not having a school lunch.
- Been so grateful to your immigrant neighbour who did all they could to help you out during the recent winter storms when your wall fell down and tiles came off your roof. That neighbour was there in the thick of it, moving all the debris and helping you out.
- Wondered if you could perhaps put the heating on for half an hour extra today. Would it make a big difference to the meter, but would that mean for that extra half an hour today, you will not be able to have the heating on tomorrow at all?
- Had no choice but to pack your pride away and seek out professional help who will refer your family to a Foodbank for help as there is no food in the cupboard. Your benefit payment has been inexplicably delayed or you have been made redundant and have signed on the dole for the first time and your benefit will take over a month to be processed? The humiliation of asking for a food parcel handout is almost unbearable, but you have no other choice.
- Phoned in work and had to pretend to be sick. You see the car needs petrol and you have run out, yet it is a couple of days to payday and you live over 10 miles from work. You have already borrowed money from relatives from last month for the exact same reason and have come to the end of your tether with the worry of it all. The stress of coping really IS making you ill. You have previously taken out a payday loan and don't want to be caught in that situation again.
- Wondered whether full time permanent work will ever exist again. Your job is zero hours contracted and you are unable to even think about approaching the bank for a home loan as you could be fired at will by your employer at anytime.
- Anxiously wondered whether you would be one of the lucky ones as the factory owners have announced that you and your fellow agency workers at the factory have a chance of applying for 5 permanent full time positions. There are 300 workers in the factory and 95% are zero hours contract agency staff like you.
- Had to attend an ATOS/Capita PIP assessment and even though you have a lifelong disability or a disability that see you have more bad days than good, they have found you fit to work. Yet your GP and consultant both agree you would never be able to hold down a job due to the profound effects of your disability. You dread the brown DWP letters coming through the door as your only lifeline is your disability benefit. The stress of the waiting and assessments makes you more ill than you were previously.
- Cried in anguish as the house you have lived in and called home for so long is now deemed "too big" for you and under the despicable bedroom tax you cannot afford to find the extra money to live there any longer so have to move out. For disabled people often they are moving out of an adapted home with 2 bedrooms to a 1 bed non- adapted home and the local council then has to spend ££££££s on adapting the new flat/house. Or there are no 1 bed homes in your area and you are wondering how to stay put and pay the extra £15pw and the stress is overwhelming.
- Rushed your child to A+E and stood in awe of the immigrant doctor who diagnosed and treated your child, and the immigrant nurse who nursed your child back to health. Felt eternally grateful you live in a country where the NHS is free and accessible when you needed it most.
- Felt annoyed and angry with yourself as you understand the "politics of envy" that you Cameron are seeping into the public psyche, but sometimes you feel envy towards the unemployed who don't work or you feel yourself blaming immigrants for " taking all our jobs" The right wing media is doing such a biased hatchet job, that on occasion you get sucked in without thinking.
- Had your home reposessed by the banks or become homeless. Sat with your kids in a one room B+B knowing it could be months before you are rehoused and even then, if you live in the London area you could face being moved miles away from your support network and family.
- You will also face constant annual moves due to the benefit cap and soaring rent rises made by greedy landlords and so your whole life is centred around how long you will be able to stay in
- one place, and can your children cope with constant home and school moves.
- Faced your bright, gifted son or daughter and explained to them the cost of a University education and the student loan they may face paying back for a lifetime. Stress yourself over whether you can support them in anyway during their time at University.
Cameron and Clegg : It is no surprise that on your joint watch all of the problems faced by ordinary members of the working class electorate have came about in the past 4 years. Recent mutterings of a joint coalition between the Tories and Ukip in 2015 or a coalition with anyone Nick Clegg can sell his party to will only send shudders down working class spines.
Until any of you have experienced many of the problems highlighted above by ordinary people, don't even begin to think you know what we want from your government. At this time Tories and LibDems we just want you out; and as for Farage and his far right elderly male Ukip party where women are second class citizens, we don't want you getting close to government. For that would be like the disaster we are putting up with now.