Could you live on £53 a week?

Reporter Adam Thompson took up the challenge to find out how easy it would be for Iain Duncan Smith to live on £53 a week.

Mrs Thatcher’s legacy, the threat of nuclear war in North Korea, can Wolves beat the drop?

They’re all subjects doing the rounds in pubs and at bus stops across the West Midlands.

But what about the 53 question? Or at least the £53 question?

That’s the amount that is supposed to be all that is left for a market stall-holder in County Durham, after "rent and bills".

And it’s caused major political ructions after work and pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith said that he could easily live day-to-day on that sum.

Already, more than half-a-million people have backed an online campaign to get Mr Duncan Smith to effectively put his mouth where his money is.

Here’s how reporter Adam Thompson coped with living on £53 a week.

Day 1

My plan is to treat this as I would a holiday by setting a daily budget and trying to stick to it.

Memo to self: Do not be trigger happy with cash as the reality of £53 a week is £7.57p a day.

Missing breakfast turns out to be a costly mistake as nipping into a café for a sandwich and a coffee sets me back me £2. That’s more than a quarter of the daily allowance gone before 10am and starts to bring home that £53 is not going to be easy.

Fortunately, lunch had been prepared the night before so cost nothing although, obviously, that sort of option wouldn’t have been available to everyone every week.

Pasta and leftover turkey for tea. The only challenge seems to be finding variety in the food I eat. I wouldn’t be surprised if this meal cropped up a few times this week.

Spend £2. Total so far £2

Day 2

I lose a tenth of the daily budget when buying a bottle of water but make up for it by feasting on a banana (12p) and a sandwich of leftover turkey from the fridge.

Luckily, I don’t have to pay for parking, nor do I have a lengthy trip into work that would drink my fuel. But this wouldn’t be the case for many people across the country.

I’m not sure that Mr Duncan Smith has had to do much in the way of paying and displaying recently.

I’d forgotten there were plans to meet a friend for a drink so was relieved when they called to cancel – £53 can soon be swallowed up on a night out in Wolverhampton.

I had to leave the office but was able to get to the job on foot. I purchased a bottle of juice and a snack on my return for £1.39.

Tea (pasta and sauce) came from the fridge (again), which technically is cheating, but everyone I know has something in there which they can raid when the going gets tough.

I am yet to break £5.

Spent £2.36. Total so far £4.36

Day 3

Today brings the first hint of a reality check. One look inside the (now well-raided) fridge and it’s obvious a shopping trip is in order.

Now it may not necessarily look like it, but I’m more used to mixing it with the Waitrose crowd in recent months – but on a limited budget it’s time to go with a low-cost supermarket. So hi-ho it’s off to Aldi I go.

Frankly I have to have a good loaf of bread so I’m happy to fork out £1.20 for that. But pate was definitely out of bounds and as for Wensleydale cheese? Forget it. Give me a block of own brand mild cheddar (£2.45) even if I couldn’t afford the crackers to go with it. Two tins of beans for under 40p and meals for the rest of the week were getting sorted in no time at all.

And for pudding? An eight-pack of summer berries yoghurts as a little treat were all mine for £2.30. A diet of beans, toast and yoghurt – it will catch on one day you wait and see.

Throw in some sandwich meat, milk, coffee and one or two bits and bobs and I’m sorted. The bill came to £14.86. I had to cover a council meeting in Lower Penn that would mean a 20-mile round trip. While it’s not the longest of drives, it was the first time I had to monitor my petrol usage.

Spent £14.86. Total so far £19.22

Day 4

I decided to leave the car at home and catch a bus instead.

While the cost of £3.60 is not budget busting, it’s pretty clear that if you have to spend that every day it would soon eat up a large chunk of the £53.

It’s also becoming clear that going to the pub is a bit of a no-no. It’s not difficult to blow a whole day’s budget on two pints of lager, so I’ve already started to turn down offers to see friends.

That’s fine as a one-off for the week, but for anyone living with such restricted means you can see a life where you hardly ever get to go out.

I had a late night so a sandwich made from Aldi’s finest had to do for my tea, I even ate it with a knife and fork to make it feel like a genuine meal.

The good news is that I’m now four days in and still have money to spend.

Spent £3.60. Total so far £22.82

Day 5

Despite my best efforts it’s time to refill the car with petrol. I thought £20 would be enough to tide me over through the rest of the week. Whichever way you look at it, it’s huge chunk of that £53 and makes the prospect of running a car every week look frankly impossible.

I had to pop into Wolverhampton but felt pretty pleased with myself when I remembered to check out parking charges online. Oxford Street Car Park offered a £2 flat rate for the whole day so I opted to park there.

But what is given with one hand is quickly taken away by another and so it is that I bump into a friend who I’d not seen since last year. Inevitably we ended up going for a pint and a catch-up. I tried to decline (honest), but he twisted my arm and my wallet was £1.35 lighter after a quick half.

Spent £23.35. Total so far £46.17

Day 6

I have £6.83 to last me the next two days and I’m starting to feel confident I can do this. I went to dad’s for lunch – which I’m not going to turn down – and when my mum offered to make my tea it felt like I’d got a right result.

So today is a no-spend day, but I’m becoming increasingly aware that I haven’t had to even consider anything like a mobile phone contract or car insurance. Bills like that would, I estimate, have pushed my spending way above – and possibly as much as double – my £53 target.

Spent £0. Total so far £41.17

Day 7

With £6.83 still left on the budget, it’s time for blowout so I treat myself to a meal-deal lunch costing £3.

Yes, I’m left with more 20 per cent of my budget but that couldn’t buy a ticket to most football games and we all know how much a trip to the cinema can cost.

Spent £3. Total £49.17

Conclusion

In reality, the week hasn’t been as taxing as I had anticipated, but it’s fortunate that nothing went wrong with my car and I didn’t really have to do a proper shop. Saving for a holiday or indeed any luxury would be impossible.

I don’t have any children but I’m lucky that I had family close by to offer support (not to mention the odd, very welcome bite to eat). There’s also the psychological challenge of having to constantly watch the pennies. My sympathy certainly goes out to people trying to do this on a regular basis.

So, what advice for Mr Duncan Smith? Well, to avoid the Strangers’ Bar in the House of Commons and have a word with your mate Boris about dropping the Congestion Charge.

Could you live on £53 a week? We went to Walsall to find out:

Comments for: "Could you live on £53 a week?"

anon

What about, electric, water, gas, tv license where do these bills fit into the budget

Lynda

I was going to say that.

£53 a week isn't just for food and transport, it's to LIVE on.

Gas, electric, water etc. will eat most of that up.

ohno

read the article the £53 is AFTER BILLS pai

purewolves

But the £53.00 per week you still have to pay for gas and electric etc out before any food is thought of.

shaun

what about gas electric water tv licence they all still have to be taken out of the £53 as well. Even if you get help with your rent and council tax,there is still no way people can live on this amount of money with out getting in to debt

Stu

Reading the beginning of the article, I think that is all taken out of the cash and the £53 is what is left over for the week after bills etc...

scott

If people would read the detail they would know that, but when they`re not bothered reading anything (including vacancies) this is what happens!

Jennifer Bloomer

No the £53.00 is what's left after rent and council tax. All other bills gas, electric, water rates and TV licence etc should have been taken out.

on the street ( soon )

that's just one week and you cheated try doing it indefinitely it would drive you mad , the fridge would soon be bare not to mention you ain't included gas electric water bills or are these added extras not to mention council tax rent etc . you've not counted

ohno

the article says £53 AFTER BILLS AND FOOD paid

Jay

The solution to benefits is simple - instead of giving people money give them food stamps and gas and electric credit, that way the amount of luxury's (be it petrol for a car, cigarettes, magazines, alcohol, clothes etc) can all be limited, and you wouldn't need extortionate amounts of money if you have 6 kids as you can be compensated with more food stamps. I feel sorry for the people who have lost their job recently and are relying on benefits as they get branded with the same brush but for people who abuse the system and have no intention on getting a job I think this would be a better way as people these days are just to comfortable that is why they don't rush out and find work.

on the street ( soon )

and how is one supposed to get a job if your idea of stamps instead of cash is to work you need money for bus taxi etc ,and phone you make it sound as though people like living on benefits maybe a few do ,but most don't you are one of these who think i'm all right jack , wait till it happens to you and see if you get a job straight away cause if you don't you can paint yourself with the same brush, a benefit scrounger,

scott

Use your internet access to find a job, you`ve been on these posts 2 weeks back, any interviews??

on the street ( soon )

no no interviews ,no one wants a 61 year old still ,will keep trying

Dennis

just hang on buddy theres a pension round the corner and you`re already used to living on benefits so yor ok

Bob

If you are claiming job seekers & need to travel for a job interview, the job centre will cover the cost of travel (within a certain distance) and you can use the phone at the job centre to make calls - People are just looking for excuses & someone to blame - blame yourself! If you can't afford £5 for a bus day pass, then you should look at yourself really hard in the mirror & think twice before buying a pint, a pack of fags or getting a ridiculous tattoo plastered on your backside!

Dunbar22

Living for one week is not the same as living on this amount constantly. As to Jay's contention that most people on benefits enjoy the experience and food stamps are the answer. I would say two things, one there needs to be jobs for people to have before they can come off benefits. I would point to 1700 applicants for 8 part time posts at a newly opened Costa coffee shop. I would also suggest you read the Joseph Rountree Trust's regular reports on poverty which clearly find that poverty and the need for benefits are due to circumstance rather than any other reason. To deepen your knowledge further read Rountree's initial report to poverty in York at the end of the 19th century.

Scott

The massive number of job applications that far outweigh the number of jobs are all the "soft option" jobs, no lifting, shift work and long hours but standing around in clothes shops, serving coffee etc.

As for "food stamps" there are going to be supermarket cards issued to buy essentials ie, not fags, booze and scratch cards, so food card instead.

ste p

So give food vouchers so people have to spend them at allocated shops, where they can only buy poor quality food rather than getting fresh, better food from a market or on offer at a corner shop somewhere?

How long would it be for a black market in vouchers to appear for the MINORITY of people who abuse the system?

You obviously don't feel sorry for people who have lost their job. You think they are so feckless that they can't budget.

sandra

All this guy seemed to be doing was buying food...what about rent/mortgage/heating/lighting council tax////on £53 per week, I dont think so....

ohno

that's because the article clearly states the £53 is AFTER BILLS AND FOOD paid!

Chris

Ohno is having a nice time.

jason

Try it for a couple of years and see how far you get,your car would soon be sold,unexpected bills,no more nights out to see friends,no more hoildays,its a lot harder then you realized!

Thehoffsleftsock

Then get a job

John

What jobs? There's 100's chasing posts. Never heard of "working poverty"? Most of the people on benefits are IN work. But isn't it oh-so-simple to tell people to "get a job" especially in this economic climate. Your comment does nothing to help people, including those who've lost their jobs. The problem is the government.

Shaun

Couldnt agree more, get a Job problem solved, and yes it is that simple.

rob bayliss

What about gas,electrity,water,tv licence.

Ian

Are we ignoring the fact that you're not including any basic household bills in this?

ohno

That's because the article clearly states it's £53 after bills and food paid

If I Was A Rich Man?

These politicians always think they know best..... that is until they try to do what they say can be done by everyone else except them!

£53pw is a pittance in this day and age and no one can live on that kind of money.

When you take into account rent, travel to/from work, food, local taxation, tv licence, energy costs etc etc, £53pw will not stretch to cover everything.

For Duncan Smith with his daily allowances, secretarial expenses, driver and car plus his not to be ignored 'small' salary, £53 is just 'loose change' to these people but as some Ministers in the past found out when exchanging positions with members of the general public, they have no idea of living in the real world, the real world of poor pay, long hours and ever increasing bills for gas, electricity and so on.

So please Duncan Smith, take on the challenge of living on £53pw and see for yourself how easy it is!

Will you dare?

I don't think so because it will show you up for the obvious fool that you are... but there again aren't most politicians fools?

antony j

this is shameful

let an M.P. try live on it

r bayliss

Never mind running a car or phone contract,gas,electricity and water to struggle with next.

msk

what about the cost of gas and electric ?

Colley Gate Wolf

You forgot that you need to pay water, electric and gas bills as well as tv license, phone bill etc

Derek Wade

What about bills? Electricity? Gas? Water?

And "lunch had been prepared the night before so cost nothing". Erm, nope, if you were living on £53 a week it would have come out of the previous week's £53. As would the petrol you've obviously used. And any other long-term expenditures (bus passes etc).

bobwolf101

Thats approx what I spend for two on food for a week.

By the way minced beef is cheaper in a Tettenhall butchers than the supermarkets.

zodiac speaking

Oh come on, he cheated for the 1st few days by eating "leftovers"! Try it for a month then let's see how you get on!

Dougy

Silly idea really ! Ther's no way you could afford a car on £53 ,so to say you spent £20 putting in fuel is daft and to say that you couldn't use the car if your journey to work was more than a few miles is another daft thing to say,surely you would have more than £53 to live on if working !

Read the article

If you all read the article it says that the £53 is left AFTER rent and bills !

Paul Rutter

FINALLY someone commenting who actually read the article properly! After rent and bills it is easily possible to survive on £53 a week, the key word is "survive". Nobody said it would be a fun-filled existence. Unfortunately there seems to be the opinion that luxury, entertainment, smoking lots of fags/other substances and running a car are basic human rights that must be provided to all regardless of their economic condition. When I was a student I had much less than £53 per week [after rent and bills] so I prioritised basic but healthily balanced staples in my diet, WALKED everywhere and played football in the park with friends instead of going to the pub for entertainment, and when the weather was bad I read books from the library - I believe they are still free? I survived well enough for 3 years to graduate and accepted the first £100 per week job I was offered when I left uni and worked my butt off to find better work as soon as I was established. I didn't buy a car or develop a taste for restaurant food etc until I was earning enough money to cover it... so if you cannot "survive" on £53 per week after rent and bills then you need get some education on how to optimise your spending before complaining about how unfair the system is.

Hint: 3 whole chickens, 3kg potatoes and 2kg carrots can be purchased for less than £15 at most supermarkets - with a few minor extras and some imagination you could live on that each week with cash left over!

Carol

I had a debt problem and went to an agency for help. Here i am advised that government guidelines state that 3 adults can live on £70 a week. Yeh right i would like to see them try.

on the street ( soon )

IAN DUNCAN SMITH COULD LIVE ON £53 A WEEK BECAUSE HE WOULD PUT IT ALL ON EXPENSES AND STILL HAVE HIS £53 LEFT IF ONLY ALL COULD CLAIM THEM . IF ONLY WE ALL WERE ON M.P.S SALARY £80000 A YEAR PLUS EXPENSES , HARD LIFE , GOOD JOB IT,S ONLY FOR THOSE HARD WORKING M.P.S OR ELSE WE WOULD ALL HAVE TO SUFFER SUCH HARDSHIP

Jeff

People....read the text: £53 AFTER bills/rent.

I get by on less than that per week pretty easily to be honest.

After rent/bills I'm left with £180 p/month ..... £45 a week. Not too tricky to be fair.

Just have to sort out true essential priorities.

Anon

Paying rent and other bills I was left with £20/wk. I couldn't afford transport, or decent clothes. I had to starve. All I got was people trying to look down their noses at me when I was trying my best. My friend committed suicide in the end, another developed mental issues, as a direct result of the discrimination they faced. You are treated like dirt. This government has driven down wages as well as rights protecting workers. Companies are also hiring foreign nationals over British people, because they're far less likely to stand up for themselves. These people who look down their noses at the unemployed.. I'd like to see THEM try and see what it's like being discriminated against. I'd like to see THEM try and keep a roof over their head.

w thompson

My weekly food bill comes to less than £25: 1 bag of apples (£1.70), 1 bag of oranges (£2), bananas (£1), cheap oats (79p), 2 litres soy milk (£1,40), 2 loaves of bread (£1 - 2 for a pound in Asda), peanuts (£1,30), 500g rice (£1,69), 4 cans of beans (£1 at ASDA), tube of tomato paste (39p at Lidl), 2 cans of tuna (80p), 6 eggs (£1,30), green tea (£1), bag of cheap potaotes (£1,30), 2 jellies (80p), 2 cans of peaches (80p), 2 cheap packets strawberry whips (40p), 1 bag of 4 frozen chicken breasts (£2,99), 1 l milk (80p), sugar (£1) and 1kg frozen vegetables (£1) = £24 and 10 pence. I earn a medium wage and if I can do it anyone can. People spend too much money on the move or buying takeaways.

Bill Walsall

But why should anyone who works for a living have to live with the poor diet you apparently live on? Plus you have neglected the fact that not everyone lives locally to an Asda or Lidl. My nearest Lidl is 3 miles away and Asda is nearly 2 miles from that.

Pele

The expect the £53 is meant to be the very basic amount for someone to live on. You would be forced to exclude any luxuries ( why should the taxpayer pay for your cigs/alcohol/ready meals/macDonalds etc). I would do it if forced to - home made meals and possibly invest in a cycle. Help centres should be set up in areas of high unemployment to help with job searching and provide support with family budgeting. There are people who make do with a lot less around the world!

Bill Walsall

The £53 a week is what a market trader is left to live on after paying his bills not JSA for an 18 year old. If it was JSA of £53 then it would be impossible to live a healthy existance and pay the bills if you lived in housing association accomodation. Finally, we are not the rest of the world, we are a civilised democratic country but you negate that fact.

Stu Favill

Another sham excercise - what does this prove? Absolutely nothing. the reality is when you start with nothing and then try to do this and if you are under 25 the reality is even starker! Try doing it with NO food in the cupboard, No vehicle - you simply wouldn't be able to run a car legally and no support from anywhere - then i might sit up and take notice. It's OK for a week anyone could tough it out for a week - and you were paid a salery while you were doing it!

Barbara

jsa was £67.50 up to a few months ago. NO , he wouidnt be able to manage because the amount given is for ALL LIVING ALLOWANCES, not just food,

PEOPLES SERVANT

Well if you are on benefits then you use prepayment meters & suffer if you run out of credit. You would most likely have a water meter, so therefore good old bath's & frequent showers are out of the question just has is reckless use of washing machine & use of dishwasher if fortunate enough too have one from prior wealthier times. You wash using the basin by using two face cloths, one for face,neck & general areas & the other for armpits & privates & then you may be able too wash your feet. Has for food you are damned by thee EXPENSE SUPERMARKETS CHARGE AT, but also a lot of offers are designed for multiple persons & not singles so if you purchase them you throw more away than you use. SALAD a PRIME EXAMPLE. Other cheap buys look good until you factor in their cooking times which means with the price of GAS it costs more too cook it than buy it so therefore making it expensive too those upon a benefits budget.

A motor vehicle is out of the question & a total joke because you forget road tax, insurance & vehile upkeep besides fuel costs. Also today you need INTERNET connection too exist with a slim hope of getting a decent job & lets not forget all those SUPER SPECIAL OFFERS which are only available via the internet which is DISCRIMINATION but it is the way it is.

JUST SOME EXAMPLES OF WHAT BENEFIT BUDGET CREATES.

Dandy

If this guy was job-hunting he'd need money clothes, transport,/fuel, stationary, telephone calls.. and more food. The money would literally vanish. It's not a true representation of what job-hunter's are facing on a daily basis.

Andy

These are some of the lowest benefits in Europe. The cost of living is spiraling and yet these benefits are capped? This is a recipe for disaster or a demonstration, whichever comes first.. it won't be a bunch of Chavs this time, either. Even the disabled are being treated like dirt. And yet at the same time this government puts overseas interests first, as well as warmongering. They're dragging the whole country even deeper into debt. It will only change once they're booted out.

Scott

-These are some of the only benefits in Europe, hence mass immigration.

-Wages are being "capped" so why should`nt benefits?

-Theres no chance of a "demonstation" because that would require discipline, organisation and getting up in the morning like going to work.

-The government should make those who can`t find a job join the army, pay, food, shelter, respect and being an asset not a burden.

ethel

And also what happens when the bills go up? as the gas and elec do, and so does food shopping you can't make 50p stretch to a pound no matter how hard you try, and i would love the "powers that be" have a go but not just for a week or two but indefinetley they would soon get brassed off 'cos it's no joke!!!!!!

Dennis

bills go up, cut back on wants and put some overtime in, thats what I do.

ohno

Please at least READ the article before posting- the £53 is to live on AFTER FOOD and BILLS HAVE BEEN PAID. It's not total weekly income. Many working people have less than £53 after all bills are paid. I think some people are getting mixed up the the £53.25 paid to under 25 benefit claimants. Clearly taking bills and food into account the actual money is much more than £53 per week!

jane

I don't see how adam achieved his goal all he bought was food, drink and a bit of petrol ok rent and bills were sorted but people will need more than just food, what about clothes some people will say thats a luxury but is it a luxury when without them you will get arrested, lose your job etc.. then what about soap, shampoo, shaver etc.. would he really have a job if he went to his job day in and out smelling of BO and what about washing powder and cleaning supplies? seriously living on £53 pounds a week is a joke i seriously think what the tori's want to bring in we should make them trial it for 4 months and see if it works before pushing it on us then they will know where we are coming from and why wont they give free childcare to children under 3 years of age if they did that they will see most single parents and parents will yank their arm off to take the offer instead of branding people lazy etc..

cath

I will let him stay at my house, the electric and gas are on a prepaid meter, lets see how he copes...

GEORGE

The idea of the benefit is survival till you can support yourself (get a job) not for you to go supping in pub,run a motor car go out dining or go away on holidays, i work and not been away for about 3yrs now, this is where the system failed when dole money became a wage with annually inflation matched rises. I like many haven`t seen a wage increase in the last few yrs.

on the street ( soon )

get yourself a better paid job then

Andy

So we can keep contributing benefits to you!

debbie

been there done it and it very hard esp when they dont help you find work my hus had a good job till the credit crunch l had to pay mor out of mine

Ray

It true it can be done when all our bills are paid gas elec, ect my wife and my i suvive on £70.00 thats £35.00 each. But it does mean we don't take holidays ,don,t smoke or drink, have a car, or go out much,in fact thats all we do SURVIVE. I'm disabled really!

missymidlands

I am bored senseless of people moaning about not getting money for doing nothing.....living on £53 p.w after all the outgoings as a hardworking taxpayer is so sad....my empathy is with those that are genuinely in need of state benefits my complete frustration is with those that believe that the taxpayer should pay for them to get up at lunchtime, sit watching sky all day,go to the pub and drink all day with their mates who are in exactly the same mindframe, day after day after day....then get on their soapbox about benefits cuts...please ......do you see me and my family moaning as our taxes rise to pay for millions that have no intention on ever working and have the audacity to take pride in not contributing in a positive way to society.....government have taken to long to smell the coffee and yet again the taxpayer will pay

robert

no thats why i went back to work, otherwise we would all do it

KELS

People always assume individuals want to claim benefits, some of us have lost jobs due to the continuous fall in Wolverhampton trading. With the rates constantly rising in our City Centre it meant a visit to the local Job Centre where you can expect effort, great customer service and genuine courtesy.........NOT. Please be aware that no matter how many years of hard work and taxes you have committed to and given back to your Country you are never entitled to anything back except a slap in the face and total loss of dignity. 53 quid a week some of us have paid that in taxes for one week whilst in employment and they deem you must live on that? The biggest benefit claimants are the Polititions and its minions they earn enough not to claim anything back never mind second homes when there are so many homeless and claiming for expenses on ridiculously priced food.

For a Government that portrays healthy eating, five a day fruit and veg and cutting down on child obesity he seems to have done an excellent job eating balanced meals. I also wanted to know how people are supposed to clothe themselves or children?

This guy could not live on 53 quid a week even if he did try as he still goes home to all his luxuries.

geoff

Utter rubbish.You can't eat out of the fridge unless you take that cost int account,the food doesn't appear by magic.How would you like to extend this miracle you performed by living like this for a couple of MONTHS like the real unemployed? You should also include looking for a job, buying newspapers to look for jobs and minor things like replacing broken down items, such as your washing machine. I assume your clothes are everlasting or cost nothing? Your hair doesn't grow or your bald?Your car needs no repairs,mot or tax?

Take this into account and believe the tory toffs lol.

Reality check.

Like our politicians you have sadly missed the point.

Whilst I have never suffered the indignity of unemployment and would probably be described as comfortably off, own house, mortgage paid off, no debt and substantial saving’s, I can still recognise that what you did for a week has no resemblance to the life of people less fortunate who struggle by on this as a regular income. You did not have to feed gas and electricity meters or pay other bills. You had no problems to deal with such as a broken kettle or faulty washing machine or even need a new pair of shoes?

There will always be society’s scroungers and skivers but they are a tiny minority compared with the genuine people who due to Ill health, unemployment, broken marriage etc. find themselves on these incomes due to no fault of their own. These patronising attempts to get by for a week are simply insulting. A group of politicians from all parties should have to try this for a minimum of six months and perhaps then they would have some small understanding why those on the margins of the “big society” resent being told by people who earn tens of thousands and receive obscene bonus payments that they are parasites.

A point of interest, my salary over 40 years in the NHS amounts to less than 2% the annual bonus paid to the incompetent head of Barclays Bank. This does not say much for the value of my lifetime contribution to society so how do you think those on benefits feel?

Yours,

Comfortably poor and nearing retirement with a reasonable pension.

Britain On It's Knees

Absolutely fantastic post!!

Someone who is not one of the 'less fortunate' in society, and has not let their (comfortable) position cloud their view.

I was quickly losing all hope, until I read your post.......you have redeemed my faith in society.

Thankyou.

Dennis

yea fantastic when you know people still feel sorry for you, keep things the way they are, stop feeling sorry for yourself and was the Thankyou for the benefits or the comment?

The Ghost of Maggie T

I could live on 53 pounds a week easily but I wouldn't want to. Obviously it depends on the lifestyle you lead, if you're a greedy so and so like David Beckham and live the lifestyle like him then you can't, but if you want to live a humble life with the bare necessities then it's possible.

ANGRY MOM!

I work full time and have a daughter to look after, After all my bills are payed I am left with around £40 a week which I have to use as bus fare to get to and from work, I am not enititled to any help with my rent, council tax, etc yet I know people who don't work who have everything payed for. I would literally be better off if I didn't work but at least I have my self respect and I know that I'm surviving and looking after my daughter off my own back rather than scrounging off others and I'm setting an example for my daughter. All this rubbish about people saying they can't get a job!!! If you want a job badly enough you can get one. Meanwhile while I'm breaking my back every day and struggling to pay my bills I'm paying tax to keep lazy good for nothings at home watching jeremy kyle!!! I have sympathy for people who may have lost their job and are genuinely looking for work, but I don't see why poeple who haven;t paid into the system should be allowed to sit at home and I also think toomuch money is spent looking after prisoners!!!!! GRRR RANT OVER!! AND TO ALL YOU DOLE DOSSERS WHO DONT WANT TO GET A JOB, GET OFF YOUR LAZY BACKSIDE AND STOP MAKING IT HARDER FOR PEOPLE LIKE ME!

Dennis

agree with you and keep working so yer kids see you earning and they`ll learn, thats why i`m in a low paid job with long hours, i`m not gona let my girls get into a cycle of pay as you sit at home while others support you.

So why do MPs need so much for their food

Hard-working 50-something woman

To Reporter Adam Thompson:

I understand that £53 was the amount left after bills but what you did was not a fair test. You used left-overs in your fridge - the cost of which should have been taken into account. The journeys in your car should have included the road tax, insurance, etc as well as the petrol - in which case the £53 would have been swallowed up on car journeys alone. I work full-time and after bills, I have £70 per week to live on, so: I walk everywhere; shop in charity shops by necessity not choice; use the library regularly; I dont have a computer - can't afford a computer let alone internet access - so library again; same for a car - couldn't afford to run one; I do have a television but just Freeview; and a very old and cheap mobile phone which on Giffgaff costs me £5 per month.

There are many of us out there who do this week-in week-out but we are the lucky ones, we at least have jobs. My son has been unemployed for over a year (after many years of work) but although he is going to at least two interviews per month has so far been unlucky.

fat bloke

At 24 stone my food bill is £100 a week !!!!!!

matty

ONE THING NO-ONE AS MENSIONED. WHAT ABOUT DRUGGYS. THEY GET PAYED FOR THERE ADDICTION. TOTALLY ANNOYED. Well i am on the sick. I had to quit my job due to my medical issue since i was born. This as affected me massivily. I cant afford to keep a roof over myself. I had a good payed job. I also had a little job for after school when i was 13. 7years of work ive done. And i am gettin treated like this. I can and cant survive on this money. For one i cant eat cheap food due to my health.. My weekly shop comea to 70pound per week. This dont include my gas and electric and other bills.. I only can eat 1 meal a day due to this govermount. Thanks alot.

A ex hard working man is getting bullyed from goverment with this new law!! Sort your selfs out.. Else there will be more than a riot!!

Kathy

I have to live on £54 a week due to income support. Even though my housing benefit covers most of my rent, I still have to pay £14.36 rent. I also have to pay for my tv license, electric and so on. And to be honest with you, I really do struggle. I just can't wait until I head to university and fulfill a career of nursing because to be fair, £54 a week is not a pleasant amount of money to live on each week. I'm usually skint a week before I get paid again

Couldn't you get a part time job until you go to university?

Kathy

I could but im in supported housing you see, and if i do get a job, I wouldnt be able to afford the rent as my flat is in the city centre. So either way, im screwed financially aha

Sara

Get paid!!!!! You say get paid like you have learnt it.

I get paid at the end of the month for working 180 hours +